Next Steps, New Beginnings

Moving toward VT2020 will require a comprehensive cultural shift that supports both macro- and micro-level transformations.  Many programs and recommendations might support such a requirement, but one foundational recommendation seems particularly clear and urgent:

Virginia Tech should dedicate a defined percentage of its efforts to creativity and innovation in technology-enriched learning, discovery, and engagement activities in ways that allow for proposals of pilot activities, their ongoing assessment and improvement, and their instantiation as vibrant, sustainable activities or enterprises.

What might such a platform support and inspire? Here are some possibilities:

  1. A biennial survey of the learning community at large that solicits ideas about direction(s) and actionable activities. An initial survey could be developed that generates engagement with the TFIT Report, and that asks all members of the VT community to respond to, comment on, interact with, the report in order to consider their vision for VT2020, the directions in which they would like to go, in relation to the ideas articulated in the current report.
  2. A speaker series aimed at encouraging highly innovative thinking about technology-enriched learning, discovery, and engagement.  Link topics from speakers’ ideas and Virginia Tech’s innovative initiatives to national and international discussions and projects (e.g., blogs and collective intelligence activities).
  3. A process for submitting, vetting, and supporting proposals for creative innovation in technology-enriched learning, discovery, and engagement.

What might such proposals look like, as developed by appropriate teams of faculty, staff, and students? Again, some possibilities:

  1. Proposals for new financial models for technology-enriched activities (see proposal for moving IT to LLC in TFIT Scholar site available at:  New Financial Models; also see Graves, William H. “Facing Education’s Mounting Challenges with Collaboration and IT.” (Research Bulletin 5, 2011). Boulder CO: EDUCAUSE Center for Applied Research, 2011, available from
  2. Proposals for networked learning environments that demonstrate using learning spaces as nodes on a learning network (e.g., connecting emporium-style, team-based, problem-based learning activities in complementary content areas).
  3. Proposals for course redesign in targeted areas (see
  4. Proposals for a computing or computational thinking requirement (see
  5. Proposals for networked use of administrative and academic analytics such that all aspects of the business of learning contribute to improved learning (see D. Kniola presentation).
  6. Proposals for activities focused on the confluence of creativity, arts, and technology activities with learning that involves K-12 stakeholders and students (see
  7. Proposals for open source materials development in targeted content areas (see Y. Benkler,
  8. Proposals for creating e-books that foster active learning—far beyond the contemporary knowledge consumption sometimes occurs with current textbooks to an e-resource that stimulates and sanctions knowledge production as an important part of the learning process.
  9. Proposals for redesigned learning activities that actively and dynamically reflect knowledge gained from advances in brain science(s).
  10. Proposals for including design and design concepts in technology-enriched learning, discovery, and engagement activities (see Jack Davis presentation and Parson’s New School for Design
  11. Proposals for integrating information from databases and repositories in medical arenas (e.g., connecting appropriate veterinary and human medical information).
  12. Proposals for a College of Innovation or a School of Innovation that demonstrates new approaches to technology-enriched learning, discovery, and engagement among faculty, staff, and students who are learning and conducting the nonproprietary business of learning in this space (see Y. Benkler,
  13. Proposals to strategically focus and integrate networked programming and activities across FDI, GEDI/TGE, IDDL, CIDER, iCAT, ASPECT, ICTAS, and other groups as appropriate on defined, innovative technology-enriched learning initiatives.
  14. Proposals that allow learners anywhere in the world to engage in innovative approaches to technology-enriched learning, discovery, and engagement at Virginia Tech as it serves as a creative node on a learning network.

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