Changing Roles in Education

While reading the article, Investigating the Effect(s) of Technology Integration on Teaching Practices that May Lead to the Development of a Community of Learners by Julie Machnaik (, it made me think: Educators often dictate to students exactly what they should know (in the name of objectives), but should that be their primary role? Perhaps an educator’s role should be to help students better articulate and communicate what they already know, allowing them to know and understand the value of knowing it. In other words, what benefit is it to you and/or others to understand what you are communicating.

Pleasant Surprise

Recently, we started exploring ways to use our learning management system to facilitate greater collaboration, particularly asynchronous communication. Today I was pleasantly surprised to see that a faculty member had opened a discussion post that inspired feedback from other members. With faculty being so over committed, being open to virtual discussion and collaboration will create so many more opportunities for interaction. It’s only the tip of the iceberg, but imagining the potential is very exciting!!

Modeling as an Instructional Strategy

As my organization transitions to a new learning management system (Desire2Learn), I keep trying to figure out ways to help acclimate the faculty I support to the new platform. The more I can model the functionality of various features in the section designated for discipline resources, the more opportunities the faculty will have to experience the added value, rather than be “sold” on the added value.

Co-Authoring Documents

The everchanging schedule of approved textbooks would be perfect for co-authoring by multiple authors. All responsible parties could take ownership of their curriculum’s textbooks and have the capability of making revisions to their portion of the document as needed. This would allow for version control and we would have a record of any revisions.

Plan B

Looks like SharePoint is a no go for collaboration right now. Switching focus to temporarily using Blackboard LMS for document management. It’s not ideal because the features we have implemented don’t really facilitate document sharing and collaboration using a wiki platform, but for now it will do.

There are multiple cloud-based web 2.0 tools, but there are privacy concerns that would limit the scope of discussion, and they don’t support the goal of finding a centralized location for collaboration. Besides, the one feature that is really needed is the ability for multiple users to edit a single document (Word, PowerPoint, Excel). So far, I haven’t really found a web 2.0 tool that not only allows multiple editors, but tracks changes, and maintains several versions on file for reference. Looks like we may just have to wait for that capability.

SharePoint Site Development

Starting to consider content to include in a division/team site. Curious to see how long it will take to get a skeleton platform up and running in order to house content for multiple projects requiring collaboration from various team members. Having a centralized document management location readily accessible by the entire division will allow for much more accurate document revision throughout the collaboration process.

Professional Portfolio Update (3/30 – 4/6)

I think my portfolio is just about presentable! There are so many details to consider and everytime I view a page or get feedback from someone who views a page, additional changes result. This week, someone was viewing some of the content using an iPad and I realized that all of my flash based presentations may need to be revised in order to allow access to iPad users. Imagine my horror, as the person indicated confusion because they were just seeing the presentation title and blank space! At this point, I am absolutely in overload trying to tie up loose ends! Major practicum assignments are due the beginning of next week! I am thankful that I have a couple of weeks before I have to present my portfolio to the program instructors and peers. I am in a burnt out stage and I need some time to put some distance between myself and the portfolio content so I can come back, view it with fresh eyes, and present it with enthusiasm!

Staff Development Workshop Update (3/30 – 4/6)

Developing both a face-to-face and online version of the same workshop has been a great experience. I would recommend it to any instructor. Just when you think you have organized your course content in a way that is crystal clear, a workshop participant asks a question that alerts you the fact that it is not! Until I started receiving feedback from online participants, in my mind, I truly thought that the same amount of content covered in a face-to-face workshop would be covered in the online workshop in the same 3 hour timespan. In hindsight, I realize that that was a ridiculous thought. Participants were not required to start and finish at the same time therefore the learning community required to complete some of the required activities was not readily accessible. Asynchronous discussions can not be rushed, so that created an issue that I had not taken into consideration. Also, in the face-to-face setting, I could simply review how course content was being displayed in the participants building section. For some reason, I did not consider the fact that I would not be able to do that for online participants therefore the assessment of “Building a Virtual Learning Environment” become quite a bit more complicated as it required participants adding me as an auditor in their build class section. Not a big deal, but not something that I had fully considered!

Technology Resource Center Update (3/30 – 4/6)

Putting my technology resource center analysis together has been much like completing a puzzle. I started off in 1 room, the instructional design lab, interviewing 1 man, the instructional technology specialist. Ultimately the impact was so far reaching that I found myself in faculty & staff offices, as well as classrooms trying to get a snapshot view of the service the labs provide each campus. At a glance, it appeared to be a small operation but as I looked for a detailed explanation of how the labs accomplish their ultimate goal which is to support and encourage faculty & staff to effectively utilize technology, it became clear that a substantial amount of support was necessary from the Office of Information Technology. This was not a one man show. My analysis reveals that in order for a service like this to be effective, feedback from the users is critical. The instructional design labs have evolved and continue to evolve based upon the needs of its users!