Friday, August 16, 2013

Instructional Technology at Elmhurst College: After the First Year

It has been a bit over a year since I started as the Instructional Technologist at Elmhurst College.  A fair amount of that time was spent learning what-was-where, who-was-who, and what-was-what.  While I can't say that I know all of the answers to all of those questions, something that has become apparent to me is that I need more paths of communication to the faculty.  In addition, I have found that I also need an informal path of communication to our students.


While my job description does not mention direct contact with the students I have found two forces are pushing me in that direction.  First, when some faculty, who have embraced the technology that the College has to offer, want to incorporate that technology into their classes, they have found that their students need some help similar to the sort of instruction that the faculty receive in the Instructional Technology workshops.  If those instructors wish to show their students how to use the various facilities, I am happy to support them.  On the other hand, some instructors, while comfortable with the technology themselves, do not feel comfortable giving technology instruction in their classes.  In these cases they have sometimes asked me to come into their classes and present a short, targeted workshop.

The second pull that I feel to communicate directly with the students is that without student awareness of the technology at the College, there is little motivation for instructors to incorporate these tools into their classes and their other interactions with students.  If instructors have to explain what is available and then explain how it is to be used, they are attempting to overcome a double barrier which can often just seem not worth the time in an already overburdened class schedule.

This blog, which is simultaneously published on the Center For Scholarship and Teaching web site and my Google+ feed, will cover items of interest to instructors and students related to instructional technology in general and to the technology environment at Elmhurst College in particular.