Research for VWWT

Purpose of Interviews

Learn what enables and encourages faculty to make modest course improvements themselves and to help others do so too. Identify resources, services, and activities that could support more effective, widespread, and rapid collegial sharing of "low-threshold" improvements in teaching and learning with technology.  

In this context, "resources" might include materials, services, incentives, etc. 

"Low-Threshold" improvements are reliable, accessible, easy to learn and share, non-intimidating, and low-cost. They include many free online tools and services.


Ask respected people who have something to do with technology and (higher?) education to identify an improvement in teaching and learning (preferably involving some use of information technology) within the last fifty years.  

Characteristics of Improvements Sought  

  • IMPLEMENTABLE IN 1 YEAR:  Usually implemented by an individual or group within one year of making a decision to do so
  • WORTH REPEATING:  Used more than once by most individuals or groups in the first years
  • OTHERS FOLLOW:  Adopted or adapted further by others in the next few years (also used more than once by most of them)
  • WORTH KEEPING:  Believed to be beneficial within the first year of usage by those closely involved;  and, after a year or two, those who began using it would actively resist abandoning it (except to replace it by an obviously preferable successor improvement)

Why do you believe the above DESERVED to happen?

  • What was done by whom to convince this person or group to make that decision or commitment?  Take that step?

  • What could be done by whom to convince this person or group to make that decision or commitment?  Take that step?


  • TLT Roundtables - more than a workbook
  • Parker Palmer's Writings, Presentations
  • Word Processing  & PowerPoint across disciplines
  • AutoCad AutoDesk changing how people get trained to be architects
  • Think Pair Share
  • Screen & Video Capture & Narration/Annotation (Screencastomatic, jing, snagit,...)
  • Electronic Portfolios used to teach/learn writing skills
  • Turnitin for deterring and for teaching about plagiarism


  • Wordle
  • Classroom Assessment Techniques (CATs)
  • Citation templates/software (endnote)
  • todaysmeet
  • polleverywhere
  • quizlet  [created 2005;  other apps having similar generic purpose NOT so successful?  Why not?  What could make Quizlet obsolete?]

  • padlet


Nanovation = Sharing small improvements in small ways - widely, intentionally, repeatedly, collegially.  Using resources designed to support the sharing, adaptation, and use of specific improvements in teaching and learning with technology.  Expanding peer-to-peer dissemination and implementation of small, important steps on a path to bigger improvements in teaching and learning with technology - to incremental exponential revolution. 

Nanovations are built of the smallest units that can sustain exponential improvement.   I.e., those units which can enable and encourage individual faculty members each to:

  • Make one low-threshold improvement in one course.
  • Get a little feedback and use that feedback to adapt and try that improvement again. 
  • [Or decide to reject this improvement - and explain why to colleagues.]
  • Help two or three colleagues make similar improvements. So that those colleagues are each similarly enabled and encouraged to try, adapt, retry, and help two more colleagues ... and so on.

Designated Learner strategy?

For those who have attended some FrLvs, have they made any such improvements as a consequence of their participation? If so, why/how?  If not....   

The TLT Group helps people in educational institutions to improve teaching and learning by making more appropriate and cost-effective use of information technology without sacrificing what matters most to them.

PO Box 5643
Takoma Park, Maryland 20913
: 301.270.8312  Fax: 301.270.8110
To learn more about our work or our organization contact: 
Sally Gilbert