This article in Times Higher Education reports on a study by anthropologist Lauren Herckis of Carnegie Mellon University that concludes that many faculty, despite evidence of positive learning outcomes, avoid innovative instructional technology because of “The Fear of Looking Stupid.”
As most academics are researchers and evidence is held as important, it is disturbing that the fear of a downward bump in one’s student evaluation scores seems to give faculty pause, even when improved learning outcomes are potentially possible. So, my question is two-fold: 1) How do we raise the academic value for faculty who seek and achieve improved learning outcomes, and over what timeframe (1 week, 1 month, 1 year, 3 years, 5 years?) and 2) How do we balance the instructor’s student evaluation scores by putting them into this perspective?
As President Franklin Delano Roosevelt once said, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”