It is no secret that technology and online education are disrupting teaching and learning. This disruption started well before the COVID pandemic. Some people argue that this disruption to education is long overdue. My hope is that this time will provide
faculty and teachers an opportunity to re-think their teaching practices as they pivot to teaching online. When Chickering and Gamson published the seven principles of good practice, we were in the very early stages of using computers and the Internet in education. Chickering and Erhmann’s (1996) essay entitled, “Implementing the Seven Principles: Technology as a Lever”, encouraged educators to employ technology in ways consistent with the seven principles of good practice. They stated, “Any given instructional strategy can be supported by a number of contrasting technologies (old and new); just as any given instructional strategy, some technologies are better than others: Better to turn a screw with a screwdriver than a hammer – a dime may also do the trick, but a screwdriver is usually better.”
Modern technologies, when applied with the seven principles in mind, can increase student engagement, learning, and satisfaction. This blog series will describe how faculty and teachers can use 21st century technology to support research-based principles of good practice.
Chickering and Gamson (1987) introduced the “Seven Principles of Good Practice in Undergraduate Education” over thirty years ago to improve undergraduate education. These principles were based on decades of research on college level teaching and learning. The Seven Principles of Good Practice are:
1. Encourage Contact Between Students and Faculty
2. Develop Reciprocity and Cooperation Among Students
3. Use Active Learning Techniques
4. Provide Prompt Feedback
5. Emphasizes Time on Task
6. Communicates High Expectations
7. Respects Diverse Talents and Ways of Learning
Chickering and Gamson noted that “while each practice can stand on its own, when all are present their effects multiply.” I believe these principles have stood the test of time.
Since this seminal research was first published, a plethora of new technological innovations have been introduced that impact current pedagogical practices. Both old and new technologies we use in education today are what Ehrmann (1995) described as “worldware” which refers to software or technology that “isn’t designed for instruction” but is also used for teaching and learning.
The exciting thing about today’s worldware is that it is much easier to use and is often available for free! In addition, schools and universities are adopting learning management systems which incorporate easy to use tools that can effectively support these principles. Crews, Wilkinson, and Neill (2015) examined how the seven principles can be applied to online course design to improve student success. They concluded that “all seven principles are essential in the development of teaching within the online environment.”
Chickering and Ehrmann encouraged faculty to explore technologies that are “interactive, problem oriented, relevant to real-world issues, and that evoke student motivation.” This blog series will describe how innovative teachers leverage 21st technologies to support each principle of good practice.
Chickering, Arthur W.; Gamson, Zelda F. (March 1987). Seven Principles of Good Practice in Undergraduate Education. AAHE Bulletin, p 3-7.
Chickering, Arthur W.; Ehrmann, Stephen C. (October 1996). Implementing the Seven Principles: Technology as a Lever. AAHE Bulletin, 3-6.
Crews, Tena B.; Neill, Jason K.; Wilkinson, Kelly (2015). Principles of Good Practice in Undergraduate Education: Effective Online Course Design to Assist Students’ Success. MERLOT Journal of Online Learning and Teaching, Vol. 11, No. 1.