Tuesday, August 22, 2006

    Online Training for Adjuncts??

    After reading of the "new" service AdjunctSuccess in the Insider Higher Ed article Online Training for Adjuncts, my initial reaction is both snarky and dismissive. Then I researched a little more (a little more into Richard Lyons and a little more than the author, it seems), and my initial reaction holds. If you are an adjunct, don't waste your time. If you are an educational entity, don't waste your money--give it as a bonus to your adjuncts instead.

    Here's why: AdjunctSuccess is, from what I can gather, an offshoot of a consulting company called Faculty Development Associates (there is a link on their site to AdjunctSuccess). The older FDA (as I will call it), has been in business since 1999 providing "client universities, colleges and instructional departments with an array of services to improve the accountability outcomes of their instructional programs."

    Say what? Borrowing from my consulting lexicon (I am an instructional design consultant by day, adjunct by night) FDA is selling you "tools" and "metrics" by which you can "systematically surpass" expectations. Wow. Think of it. Instead of hiring well-educated people (Ph.Ds and the like) and allowing them to craft their classes into meaningful exchanges of knowledge in the classroom, you can have someone walk you through identifying: course objectives, course outcomes, course measurements, your own teaching style, Bloom's taxonomy (no lie, see here), and the list goes on as long your your wallet holds.

    Now, I know that there are lots of poor instructors who might actually benefit from a critical examination of their methods and practices, and on this level I wish FDA and their AS project success. But, if you are a bookworm already, just crack open a primer on instructional design. Its cheaper.

    BTW, does anyone even vet the stories on Inside Higher Ed anymore? The article on AdjunctSuccess is well-timed with the new company's add push (their newish web-site--much better than the do-it-yourself FDA site--is primed for linked traffic). Just for the record, I like my ads to be on the side where I can ignore them, not presented as a news story.

    Told you I felt snarky.


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    3 Comments:

    Blogger Teri said...

    I'm a bit off-topic - but you really must go read Rob's (at Big Monkey, Helpy Chalk)translation of an (or rather, 10) adjunct(s) wanted ad.

    Wednesday, August 23, 2006  
    Blogger Piss Poor Prof said...

    Thanks for the great tip, Teri. It might just find its way onto my main page.

    :)

    Thursday, August 24, 2006  
    Blogger Andrew Purvis said...

    Actually, the pedigree of the founders of IHE is pretty decent. Mind you, I can't speak to much about current motivation, but then who but they can?

    As I commented (yours was not posted when I wrote mine, and mine is below yours) in response to the article, I had heard of this a couple months back via an NPR story, so coverage of the company—specifically of this DBA—is nothing new. I was unimpressed with the concept back then, and I remain so now (yeah, like I need a web site to tell me not to wear Army fatigues on day one).

    My concern comes from two sources: first, the level of support that schools provide to their adjuncts (this seems to vary not only by school but by department); second, the level of assistance adjuncts seek. The former gets adjuncts upset, and the latter is too often overlooked. Sadly, NPR, IHE, and FDA are all going to fall short on fixing any of it.

    Thursday, August 24, 2006  

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