Higher education demands a change. For many years it has evolved slowly, always remaining a professor-centred process in which students have played a secondary role, expecting to be taught rather than learn. The global pandemic has highlighted the importance of higher education institutions being resilient, able to adapt to radically new environments in no time, and to guarantee the quality students enrolled for in the first place. It is now more than ever necessary that universities and such entities assess their adaptation capabilities, and act consequently with the ultimate goal of better preparing students for the 21st century challenges, one of which is - as we all have learnt - the appearance of complex problems with high uncertainty and impact, with the power to completely redefine the world as we imagine it.
In order to tackle this challenge, I propose a field guide concept consisting of a toolkit combined with worksheet sets meant to facilitate collaborative reflection processes.
Part 1 - Toolkit
Provide methods and tools with explanations that can be used to improve the teaching / learning process.
Innovation is generally perceived as an abstract concept the impact of which is difficult to quantify, and the process to achieve it is unclear - just like concepts such as emotions, mental health or the climate crisis, therefore people who are against it can avoid taking action on the basis of this complexity. The toolkit simplifies educational innovation processes, reducing the amount of time professors have to put into research tasks by providing them with clear instructions regarding methods ad/or strategies they can implement to improve quality.
Part 2 - Worksheets
Promote collaborative discussion and reflection between stakeholders.
The goal is to provide a framework so that different stakeholders can take part in a discussion guided by a set of worksheets with a variety of specific goals/topics that will require them to express their views and opinions, thus reflecting on specific aspects and encouraging a change of mindset around education innovation culture.
This system is designed to be led by faculty while at the same time providing opportunities to involve students, understanding that in order to create systematic change and a real innovation mindset in organizations it is fundamental that those who have the power to change things get involved and are aware of their own potential, and that they collaborate with those who will ultimately have to deal with the consequences of their decisions.
It is particularly focused on the figure of the practitioner + professor combination, considering this profile one with a high willingness to innovate, limited time to do so and up-to-date knowledge on the area they are in charge of teaching, which brings a higher value for students.