Key Thoughts on Best Practices
It's important to understand the potential costs of teaching technology as well as the benefits. Professor Eric Roberts of Computer Science shares the following “cautionary thoughts”:
- Understand that good teaching involves much more than the simple transfer of material or specific skills. In teaching, the major challenge is to convey excitement and to provide students with the psychological incentives they need to work hard. Roberts is not convinced that greater reliance on educational technology furthers these goals.
- Appreciate the multiplicity of agendas. Technology can certainly be used to improve the quality of instruction. It can also be used to increase its cost-effectiveness by expanding the audience. As educators,we need to understand what forces are driving the decision to use technology and when the goals of quality and cost reduction conflict.
- Maintain a realistic assessment of the life-cycle costs of educational technology. Developing good instructional technology is not easy and cannot be done by faculty as a background activity. Maintenance and redevelopment costs, particularly for software-intensive tools, are also high.
Another best practice is to talk to faculty colleagues who have done what you're considering doing. Our Course Profiles gallery has examples from faculty who have done innovative teaching with technology. Talk to them, and to the VPTL staff, about your plans and ideas before you start.
VPTL is always happy to consult with Stanford faculty using technology in the classroom.