By Karen Waddell
In the fall of 2015 Butler implemented that every faculty member have a Canvas shell for every CRN that they teach and that they have to at least include their syllabus and grades in that shell. The BST department faculty all are in compliance of this mandate except for two. I have a son that attends Butler and last semester only half of his instructors had his grades posted in Canvas. This semester, it is a little over half. So it does look like it is improving. In this blog, I’d like to talk about the whys and why nots that some faculty have not embraced this policy.
From a faculty stand point, I know that it is hard for some instructors to start doing things a different way. However, the more I’ve gotten to know the committed faculty members who have been serving students for decades, the more clearly I understand that their resistance isn’t just about doing business differently; it’s also about preserving their very purpose and identity in the classroom. They do not want their students considering their class as an online class and skipping the mandatory face-to-face class meetings because they have access to all the content online.
There comes a point at which resistance may be far less beneficial than cautious compliance. So if the faculty members at Butler just put in the bare necessities then they can later explore new options such as blended modes of instruction, utilizing new and unfamiliar tools to teach more efficiently, or perhaps even agreeing to migrate some of their courses to online delivery.
I have heard many faculty members wonder if their academic freedom has been stripped away in a paradigm shift that is changing the very idea of the college professor who delivers a lecture in the front of the classroom. Faculty members do not need to surrender completely, rather they will need to adapt. So if they do not want their students to do all their assignments outside of class then they can “deliver” the content in pieces or chunks…week by week or even not deliver it at all until after the class meets face-to-face.
So what do we do about those instructors who do not want to put their syllabus and grades online? The online department has several workshops to help accommodate faculty who need help with this transition plus the full-time faculty in the BST department are more than willing to sit down with an adjunct and help him/her get their Canvas shell set up. There are those that still have not done it and some that didn’t even finish the training. What do we do about them? The trouble is that there are not consequences.
I know that the excuse from our two adjuncts is that they do not have the time and that they are not tech savvy. However, for the reasons listed above, I feel they should have their classes ready to go for next fall and I hope that someone comes up with consequences for not complying with this policy and that they will follow through with those consequences.