Changing Times, as Otterbein's Graduate Programs Keep Pace
Let’s take a moment to think about education, teaching and most importantly learning. What happens today in the “little red schoolhouse”? The campus auditorium? The seminar room? How much of what happens on campuses/in schools should be the same and how much needs to be changed?
Education is changing. The evolution of the internet has made information readily available, especially for all of us here in the U.S. In response, the role of faculty is evolving and transforming away from the instructor being the dispenser of knowledge*.
- The student-teacher relationship is now more a partnership with students creating and collaborating, and teachers supporting, directing and coaching student efforts.
- Students are taking on more responsibility for their own learning, leading to a more personalized education. The success of this individual-centered learning does require high quality coaching and support from faculty.
- Project-based learning is preferred as it promotes engagement, collaboration and creativity. Students are involved in longer term projects that actually become the “learning experience”.
The Graduate School at Otterbein has been proactive in incorporating these changes and trends. Although we embrace the internet and technology as the “where” of much information, we have chosen to maintain the face-to-face classroom as essential to our mission. Faculty are now partners with students supporting and directing them not only with projects but in engaged learning. Clinical experiences, projects with industry and schools are but a few ways Otterbein actively engages students, faculty and the workforce towards creative problem solving that betters our shared community.
New initiatives within the Graduate School that demonstrate our progress:
- professional development (PD) job embedded short courses with more teachers from central Ohio schools connecting directly with Otterbein education faculty;
- increased number of "special topics" courses in the MBA curriculum to meet ever-changing needs of business & industry;
- collaborative courses between programs sharing perspectives to spark creativity (health administration courses that involve both MBA and Allied Health students), and;
- continued collaboration of the nursing Advance Practice Nurse (APN) programs with multiple healthcare agencies that cross the spectrum of care from small private offices, retail clinics, to multi-hospital health care systems.
These new educational initiatives are not just happening at Otterbein, or at the graduate level, but are permeating both higher education and the K-12 environment. For those with an interest in schools, it has been suggested that the future curriculum will include explicit instruction on how to listen as an essential part of the common core. I think we can all agree listening is a priority and a key skill. In addition, imagine coding classes that begin in grades K-4. Some argue that coding is more relevant in today’s world than learning a foreign language as the vision is that jobs in the future will require us all to be “tech savvy”. Are you ready for “game design” in grade 5*?
*Norene Wilson, 5 trends in education for 2014, http://www.scilearn.com/blog/5-trends-in-education-2014.