ELI: The Millennium Student: And Now, Evidence for the Millennial Instructor!

  • Carl F. Berger, Professor and Dean Emeritus, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
  • Abstract
    Research on students and faculty and differences in the use of technology in teaching and learning at the University of Michigan show how a new millennial instructor is emerging, sometimes resembling the millennium student, and sometimes the traditional faculty member, but most often unique. Are we ready for the implications of this new teacher?

    Side note: Tom Brady (of the Pats) was one of Carl’s students.
    I came to this session because my hunch is that I am a “Millennial Instructor.” The argument: current teaching styles (or past teaching styles) may not/are not adequate. Is there a new instructor type emerging. [He made a comment that I did not quite hear fully, about some faculty feeling that the opinion of the colleague down the hall is more important that broader considerations. Is that junior faculty trying to get tenure worried about the senior faculty’s opinion?]

  • They did a survey of students and faculty in 2005 and ended up with more responses that people; i.e., some respondents were saying they were BOTH faculty and students. This is obvious for grad students/TAs, but the faculty? This seemed a fluke so they did it again in 2006. Similar results.
  • They did a matrix survey asking both students and faculty about barriers to using technology in learning.
  • They had a section on demographics with various combinations. Students who teach, faculty involved in formal learning (ABD, another degree)
  • Focused on teaching and learning.
  • 1731 students, 391 faculty, 321 student/faculty roles; 83 faculty/student roles (404 in this overlap group)

  • These 404 they are tagging as “millenium.” Why? Age and ability, next slide:
  • Age?
  • Expertise?
  • Use/need for support?
  • Patience?
  • WINWINI? (What I Need When I Need It)
  • Box plots of age: the median shows that age of these faculty is in the late 20s, but it is ONLY the median.
    [I would suggest a different term since “millennial” is usually a term for generations and in this case he is saying it is about skills, traits, qualities, etc.]

    They asked about “What do you think of your expertise in technology and: Education, Research, and Personal” on the spectrum of Novice to Expert. [I will have to get the slides, I cannot do this justice.]

  • Education – MI (MillInstructor) falls more towards the “expert” than the Student of Faculty category. Faculty at Novice and Students in the middle. (This is self-reporting, so it could be confidence/ego. 🙂 )
  • Research – MI is the same (overlap with Faculty), but Faculty now show themselves towards expert, but Students are down in the Novice range.
  • Personal – MI Moves up a bit on Expert, Students move back up to Expert and overlap the MI and faculty move back towards Novice, but not so close as in Education.
  • Results: The MI is

  • Not in between Faculty and Students
  • More expertise in all categories
  • Significantly different in Education and Personal (higher in personal)
  • Like faculty in research
  • How did they learn to use technology:

  • Self taught!
  • Like Students in some areas (need link to slide)
  • Like Faculty in other areas (but not as many)
  • [In all of this, they ran for age/gender correlation and there was none!]

    Future Investigation

  • They did not design these surveys to find this group, it just showed up.
  • Should ask directly
  • Themes? Multitasking, ease of tech, always connected?
  • The presentation is available:
    Look to the left, it is the first presentation! The direct link is here.

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