Here is the text of an email I received yesterday from my university. I honestly have no idea what it’s talking about. Does any part of this sound familiar to any of you? (Are there any palaeographers among you?)
This seminar will provide information about the university’s involvement in a national consortium that promises to enhance learning and teaching. The consortium, which includes several leading research universities, is exploring new directions in the use of instructional technologies. The intent is to facilitate and accelerate digital learning using the best integrated digital systems available that make it easy for faculty and enhance learning. The ecosystem consists of three components: a digital content repository/reflector, a service delivery platform, and a learning analytics service. The digital content repository/reflector will allow us to regain control over our digital learning objectives, allow faculty to choose to share/reuse digital content easily and seamlessly while preserving their digital rights. The service delivery platform is Canvas by Instructure, and has the characteristics of easier use by faculty and faster development of courses in it. The best learning analytics will be deployed and evolve apace as this area develops.
My first thought when I tried to read this email: was this written by one of those software robots that allegedly can fairly grade essays?
It looks like the administrators at my university are inviting a for-profit ed-tech vendor in to make a sales pitch while calling it a “seminar.” Or rather, it’s something the university has already bought without faculty consultation and now they’re trying to sell it to the faculty. In other words,–and in either case–this is the opposite of a productive use of my time as a faculty member who believes in F2F teaching. You can “promise. . . to enhance learning and teaching,” but that’s what I’m already spending most of my time on, day after day.
Also: since when is literacy in university communications optional? If you want faculty to show up for stuff, write the invitations clearly with attention to grammar and syntax. (Just sayin’.) If this is “Canvas by Instructure”‘s advertisement for a product that will “make it easy for faculty and enhance learning,” whatever that means, it’s not super-persuasive.
Many thanks in advance to those of you who care to plumb the mysteries of the text, or those of you who have experience with “Canvas by Instructure” and can explain it to us in plain English.