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Earning Faculty Buy-in with SAM (Simplify, Automate and Motivate) Part 2: Automation

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As noted in the previous post, I need to write a presentation for an upcoming conference. Here is the second part, on automating assessment. Automation As a matter of psychology, people are more likely to stick to a default inclusion when opting out requires effort. An excellent example of this is retirement savings: when employees are automatically enrolled in a retirement plan and must opt out, they enroll in the plan at a significantly higher rate than cases in which employees must opt it to the plan. This generalizes to most human behavior and can be used to increase faculty participation in assessment. While it might appear that I have forgotten about automation and taken up a new topic, the connection between defaults and automation will, I hope, be made clear shortly. While making faculty participation in assessment the default and requiring them to opt out might result in more participation, the obvious problem is that it is generally much easier to opt out of assessment than participate. As such, making participation the default is likely to have no positive impact on participation and might cause some resentment on the part of faculty—they might dislike the assumption that they will do extra work. The fix is, of course, to make opting out require more effort than participating. As a faculty member, I would never suggest making the method of opting out more burdensome than participating as a means of coercing participation. This would merely serve to annoy faculty and lower the quality of participation. As such, the better solution is to develop means of participation that come with minimal cost to the faculty—ideally so low that even an easy opt-out would be more work than participating. One way of doing this is to have a default in which faculty agree to allow others to gather and assess data from their classes. But this still puts a burden on those who do the gathering and assessment, and these are often other faculty. As with almost any task, one. . .

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News source: A Philosopher's Blog

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