Tech Training Goes Online

I have been training faculty to use technology since 1999, and boy have things changed since that time!  When I started, technology was hard to use, difficult to master and only vaguely helpful to teaching most of the time.  But that didn’t stop a lot of people, because there was also a lot of value … as long as it all worked just as it was supposed to!

Over the years, technology has come a long, LONG way. We are now living in very exciting times, indeed! I’m always excited to share with faculty the new features and tools that are already available to them on campus.  But I always run into a similar problem: No time.

Faculty, like everyone, are busy, busy people and it’s challenging to find time to attend technology training sessions. Over the years, I’ve tried a number of different strategies to help make these sessions more easily available to faculty, from scheduling multiple occurrences of the same topic, to having regular tech training times, to varying the location of the tech training sessions.  But few of these strategies were successful enough to continue, attendance remained low. What is an instructional technologist to do?!

This past spring break, I took a little bit of a leap and offered the opportunity to do my Moodle Gradebook training session via live video conference. I also offered an on-site, face-to-face session, and I did have a few people attend that session.  But I also had a few people take me up on the offer to do a synchronous video conference of the same session.  In each of these two video conference sessions I did, I had one person on the other end.  But it could have easily scaled to a larger number of participants.

All in all, I think they both went really well! I have been a frequent participant in online video presentations, like the ones I just conducted.  But I have not often led one.  The biggest challenge is not being able to ‘read the room’ to see if people are following me or if they seem confused.  I rely on reading the room quite a lot in my in-person training sessions, and it’s a lot harder to do that digitally.  But because I only had one participant on the other end this time, it wasn’t so bad.  I can anticipate that if I had more people, that might become a bigger issue that I would need to adapt to handling.

But I think it was a really great way to reach some faculty who would not have been able to attend my face-to-face session.  They learned something they had not known about, and we all did so from the comfort of our own spaces!

I wonder, if I were to offer more of these online sessions would faculty participate?

This post also appears on Carly’s blog, The Space Between.

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