High Impact Practices Mental Health Purpose of Teaching

High-Tech and High-Touch?

Reflecting on all the wonderful things participants at the resonant listening workshop discussed, I continue to reflect on what I take to be an unfulfilled promise of educational technology. When I was in graduate school, I worked for the EdLab, a group committed to thinking through how technology might transform education.

One issue we talked a lot about was using technology efficiently so that education could be more human-focused. The slogan: “High-Tech and High-Touch” was one that really resonated with me, and I was reminded of it during the workshop when we talked through ways to make advising more efficient and more meaningful for students.

As a community, I wonder if there are ways that we can get the basics of advising out of the way through short videos and other hacks so that we can create spaces for deeper conversations with students about the purposes of their liberal education. Rather than speak with 30 advisees about how to get into APR and how to meet the graduation requirements, I think most of us would prefer to have conversations about how to interact with our curriculum in the most meaningful ways possible.

Can we find ways to let technologies take over the instrumentalities of advising so that we are freed to forge more meaningful connections with students? And how do we know the differences between work that is better done by technology and work that needs human presence and connection? I suggest that these questions are only going to become more important and that small colleges are uniquely positioned to be places where the promise of high-tech and high-touch is a reality.

I look forward to continuing this thinking with groups around campus. Please reach out if this is a conversation that you’d like to be a part of.