Frugal Innovation in Digital Learning

I’ve been doing a lot of reflecting on what makes a good and accessible digital assignment for faculty and teachers who are not comfortable with digital tools but open to learning and experimenting. An approach I’ve often seen is what I’ve recently started calling the kitchen sink approach to “onboarding.” In this approach, a suite of tools or a single tool that can do “everything you can imagine and more” is shown or given to a faculty member to integrate into their already existing course or assignment. The hesitant but eager faculty member, initially excited to try something new, quickly becomes overwhelmed and frustrated as they attempt to make the tool live up to the promises of “doing everything and more.” Frustrated, the faculty member then abandons integrating the tool because they “tried and it didn’t really work with their style of teaching” or “there is too much stuff in the course already to add digital tools.”

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