Encouraging Classroom Innovation

Scoble and Don Dodge say:

I know many college professors who are teaching the same class they did years ago. There’s no incentive to innovate, even when the world is changing around them.

Most colleges require students to fill out end of course gradesheets, but these usually disappear into the black void that is the bureaucracy or is kept by the professors to analyze. But that is old thinking, that is hoping the hierarchy will fix things. It won’t.

Instead, build a database where these things are input (skip the paper altogether and move it online) and then made publicly accessible. Allow a market to develop where students pick classes ranked by their peers along diverse criterion.  Ingrain these results in the professor’s academic career through a rewards and punishment system.

In essence you’re leveraging your customer base to adapt your product inventory to their needs. Sure, it will be open to abuse to some degree, but that can be mitigated. All in all the benefits definitely outway the costs.

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  • I think you will find bad/easy teachers rise to the top of that list. Do students really want an interesting and challenging class, or a no brainier?

  • I think you’re likely to see, in a private collegiate setting anyway, students try to get the most bang for their buck – a rewarding education for a $100,000+ investment.

    The other 10% can be sorted through based on the quality of their review – reviews can be peer judged if you really want to. But also the fullness of the reviewer response, a list of their other responses. Include some basic comparative metrics

    And to top it off the school can also look at the reviews and make a call as to the validity of the reviews.

    Anyway, its a basic product but if properly leveraged can move the conversation forward.

  • Phil (Pacific Empire)
    Feb 18, 2007

    Yeah. The student’s association here does something similar, but it isn’t widely used. There was a bit of a public backlash when RateMyTeacher.com expanded into New Zealand; sure some students and parents leave nasty or unverifiable comments about teachers, but in the end, it’s all about transparency.

    BTW, high school teachers are probably far worse than most college professors…

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