This post is in response to the reflection piece in the Technologist module of Ontario Extend.

My role as a Curriculum Designer in our Teaching and Learning Innovation Hub is to support new and existing faculty by providing sessions and workshops that allow faculty to learn about and incorporate pedagogy into their current teaching practice. One of the challenges I was seeing during the academic year was that faculty who voiced an interest in certain sessions weren’t showing up to the scheduled sessions.

When I spoke with those faculty to inquire why they didn’t attend the session(s), they told me they were busy (meeting with students, teaching classes, checking in with students on field placements, doing administrative work, in departmental or program meetings, etc.) They apologized and told me that they are still really interested in the content and would love if they could view or engage with the content when they had some free time. The technologist module had me thinking about how technology and what technology could help me (and my colleagues) gain access to the content in a meaningful way.

I created an Empathy Map to help understand challenges facing faculty at this current time. You can read my blog post and view my Empathy Map here.

We have been piloting the software Zoom with our Hyflex faculty. We have received positive feedback about the video conferencing software, so I decided to check into how it may be able to support the challenge I was seeing in our professional development. I used Zoom for the first time during part-time orientation, allowing faculty from Toronto, Barrie and Sault Ste. Marie to attend the orientation virtually. I received great feedback from them about the use of the technology:

  • They loved that they didn’t have to drive all the way to Sudbury for the mandatory orientation training — saving them time and money in travel costs.
  • They said that at times it was hard to hear other participants in the classroom
    • Next step would be to ensure there are working microphones around the classroom and ask participants to speak up (or the facilitator can repeat questions, when asked).
  • They loved that they were able to see my slides on their computer screen and listen to my explanations.
    • A next step may be to create a screencast/webinar recording of the orientation for people who aren’t able to attend in-person or synchronously online.
  • They felt it was unfortunate to not be able to meet colleagues in the classroom, although they did have the opportunity to introduce themselves and listen to participants’ introductions.
    • A next step may be to have a camera that is able to move around the room so that partipants in the classroom can be on camera to introduce themselves to the online participants OR
    • I could host a separate online only session for those who are able to connect synchronously. We can all be using our video cameras to see one another and engage in discussion.

Here is an example of Zoom looks like with screen share:

The next step for me will be to incorporate Zoom in professional development sessions held in the Hub; however, not every session is designed for a virtual delivery. For those sessions, I need to think about how (and if) the content can be successfully put online. For example, Jess and I will be hosting a 5 part series on Course Design/Redesign. This session is meant to be a workshop where we guide participants through the course design/redesign process using backwards design. This would not lend itself well to a synchronous video capture but it may work well as a self-directed mini-course online.

Plus, I tweeted out about as another form of technology I’d be interested in learning!

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