Friday, September 23, 2005

Getting Good At It

This week we had a meeting that touched on, among other things, ways to encourage more faculty to take the leap and try either doing an entire course online, or at least supplementing their classes with material on the web. A comment by our local web guru reminded me why so many faculty resist.

“A new version of (our web platform) is coming out this Fall, and it’s completely different from the current one. Everyone will have to be trained on the new one.”


The folks who are already offering courses online will have to go through the same training as the folks who aren’t sure about this newfangled ‘electricity’ thing. It has ‘morale killer’ written all over it.

I saw the same thing, magnified, at my previous school. At one point, we had used three different platforms in three consecutive semesters. The faculty were livid, since they spent all of their time in the low-payoff part of the learning curve. They didn’t have enough time to get good at it.

I’m wrestling with a similar issue at home. The Wife bought me a nifty, cool, way-fun object of techno-geek lust, and I’m trying to figure out how to use it. It will probably be a blast, once I figure out how to make it go. Until then, it’s an annoying time-suck. Thirtysomething that I am, I keep analogizing it to earlier technologies, incorrectly. Damn that historical memory.

It’s futile to ask innovation to slow down, I know, and probably a bad idea anyway. But from a faculty perspective, time spent learning to use the new web platform is time wasted. They want to be able to get good at it right away, to spend time on actual course material, and they’re right.

Hell is a series of workshops.