When faculty think of our Academic Technology unit I suspect their mind races right to questions about how to solve a technology conundrum. Sure, that’s part of it but faculty can really benefit from our expertise and our broad experience. We’ve worked with, collaborated with, completed projects for, and listened and learned from hundreds of faculty who have brought us unique instructional challenges. Some of those challenges are easily resolved but the tough ones are disguised as “solvable with technology”. The hard problems always have to do with the faculty perception that their design isn’t the problem; it’s the technology that’s not letting them get the result they want. It’s easy to understand why this happens since they’ve taught using the same or similar methodology multiple times and it’s been pretty successful. If technology would just let them do “X” then everything would be perfect.
When we work with faculty we’ll start with a standard question: “what are you trying to do”? It’s a simple question but it supports a conversation about the strategies and the motivation behind the design approach. This is where the collaboration begins. The benefit to faculty is it encourages them to talk through the process with an unbiased and non-judgmental person. We ask questions. They explain. We offer suggestions. Remember, we’ve worked with hundreds of faculty and have a lot of experience with good ideas and can spot a poor idea a mile away.
Here’s the thing: faculty tend to get stuck doing the same things the same way. In fact, many may have the experience building courses, but basically it’s the same course a hundred times rather than a hundred different courses.
So my message to faculty is this: the AT unit can help solve technology problems but we’re also adept at addressing instructional challenges that have nothing to do with tech and everything to do with design.
Drop by and visit us in our new location at Cheshire House. We would love to talk with you about your courses.