Friday, January 27, 2012

"Accountability Yes, Hierarchy No"

By: Joshua Kim

AEFIS Response:

There is a great deal of risk in inviting large populations to provide feedback to make improvements. This is true when asking students to provide feedback about coursework and faculty practices; and it is also true when seeking feedback from software users. Not being able to meet requests or satisfy expectations minimizes clients’ trust and reduces their likelihoods to provide additional feedback. However, such feedback fuels innovation and our development model welcomes it. Balance must be found in engaging leaders, primary decision makers, and the greater populations of users outside of the leadership realm. This idea of hierarchies and accountability is discussed in recent posting on Inside Higher Ed’s “Technology and Learning” blog, “Accountability Yes, Hierarchy No.”

Determining these hierarchies is a struggle that our company tackles regularly. Our client partnership model has allowed us to sit in on and lead great discussions regarding assessment, accreditation, and how institutional stakeholders view opportunities and challenges. Our partnerships have attracted clients who are willing to engage in these conversations and view assessment, accreditation, and student learning as priorities that require consistent enhancement on campus. Joshua Kim, author to the blog mentioned earlier, questions the best approach to minimizing hierarchical boundaries to allow for innovative collaboration and production for educational technologies, while maintaining efficiency. With this point he notes that such an environment will have to accept and even promote risk taking.

Innovation is a celebrated concept. But before innovation usually come: costs, mistakes, failures, and delays. And these are not so celebrated. Ultimately both technology developers and end users have to promote risk taking, and accept the challenges that may be faced before the most successful solution to the problem at hand is realized.

Becky Yannes, AEFIS Team

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