Resistance and Fear: Strategies and Experiences for Addressing Emotional Obstacles and Embracing Innovation

Concurrent Session 1

Brief Abstract

Often the first obstacle to innovation in teaching and learning is fear. Our conversation will build on two central questions: 1) How have you seen fear in others or experienced fear yourself as an obstacle to innovation? 2) What strategies have worked for you to help others overcome fear of innovation?

Presenters

Larry holds a PhD in Educational Theory and Policy from Penn State University and an MEd in Leadership, Policy, and Organizations from Vanderbilt University’s Peabody College of Education. He directs the Online Faculty Development unit at Penn State World Campus and teaches on the Educational Leadership faculty both online and resident instruction. His research interests include online teaching and learning, online faculty development, urban school districts, and educational leadership. Prior to his work in higher education, Larry served in K-12 schools as a teacher, administrator, and principal. Larry is 2012 graduate of the Institute of Emerging Leadership for Online Learning (IELOL), the recipient of the Online Learning Consortium’s Best-in-Track for Faculty Development award (2014, 2015), and a former Pauline Turner Fellowship recipient in the College of Education. Larry is published in education journals including American Educational Research Journal and Peabody Journal of Education.

Extended Abstract

Often the first obstacle to innovation in teaching and learning is fear—fear of the unknown, fear of technology, fear of not knowing, fear of learning. Recent research (Stupnisky 2014, 2016) has identified faculty emotion as a powerful factor in performance. Those of us who work in online faculty development frequently see instructors reluctant, even aggressively resistant to learning new technologies and teaching methods and gaining new understandings of design and instruction in the digital classroom.  To get our conversation started, we will look briefly at the presenter’s research on “fear and relief” in online faculty development as an example. Then we will discuss: 1) How have you seen fear in others or experienced fear yourself as an obstacle to innovation? 2) What strategies have worked for you to help others overcome fear of innovation? Attendees will take away new ideas and practices crowdsourced to apply in their own settings.