Joel Smith seminar recording available


'The Eye of the Needle: New Understandings of the Complex Barriers to Instructional Innovation with Technology' - seminar recording

The above seminar with Joel Smith (Carnegie Mellon University) took place on 29th May 2018 (Godfrey Thomson Hall, 12-1.30pm, Moray House School of Education)

The recording for this seminar can be found at:

Educational technologies must "pass" a staggering number of litmus tests in order to be received favorably and used effectively by faculty. Why is it so hard to integrate new educational technologies into postsecondary education? Is there a recipe for success? Research at Carnegie Mellon University done by Lauren Herckis and Joel Smith has taken an anthropological approach to understanding the roadblocks and affordances to the effective implementation of educational technologies. Professor Smith will discuss results of this research, as well as suggestions about how to support faculty, students, and institutions striving to adopt evidence-based instructional tools and practices given the findings.


Joel M. Smith is a Distinguished Career Professor of philosophy in the Philosophy Department at Carnegie Mellon University.  His area of specialization is philosophy of science. From 2002 through 2012, Smith served as Vice Provost and Chief Information Officer of Carnegie Mellon University.  He also directed Carnegie Mellon’s Office of Technology for Education from 2000 through 2012.  He was the co-principal investigator of major parts of the Open Learning Initiative, a project at Carnegie Mellon to develop demonstrably effective online courses through the application of design principles and practices from cognitive science. Dr. Smith is currently the co-principal investigator of a research project on barriers and affordances to implementation of instructional innovations titled “Understanding and Overcoming Institutional Roadblocks to the Adoption and Use of Technology-Enhanced Learning Resources in Higher Education.