Monday, October 12, 2009

10. TLT support: Why and How

You can't understand teaching if you ignore learning. And you can't understand either unless you pay attention to the facilities, resources, and tools used to accomplish them: classrooms and computers, libraries and the web, and other such 'technologies.' At one time staff could ignore classrooms, textbooks, and other traditional technologies because the choices were few, and universally familiar. That's no longer true. Especially in the last decade, the options have multiplied. Because these technology options are not equally good, equally easy, or equally inexpensive, the choice of technologies requires conscious attention, just as teaching and learning themselves do.

That close relationship of teaching, learning, and their technologies
is one reason why it's important for institutions to have units that
function as TLT Centers, real or virtual.
A virtual TLT Center is a constellation of two or more units such as faculty development, technology support, the library, the facilities program that supports classrooms, distance learning, and departmental TLT experts -- units that work so closely together that they act like a single service provider. For example, their staffs continually learn about each other's resources and from one another's experiences; that way each staff member can draw on all the capabilities of the virtual center.
These things I do believe.

But some of my beliefs have changed. I once believed that, when helping faculty, TLT staff needed to focus on (just) two things:
  1. WHY: Teach enough about a new technology and its teaching/learning uses so that instructors would want to learn more, and, for those who are persuaded,
  2. HOW to teach in those ways.
Is that a good summary of the kinds of help that TLT staff provide faculty at your institution? Or is there something additional that faculty are taught about emerging TLT topics? Please post your observation by clicking 'comments' below.

My second old belief was that support for faculty should be provided directly and entirely by experts in TLT support. At your institution are there people in addition to TLT staff who provide such support?

My third old belief is that this training should be entirely interdisciplinary: faculty are specialized by discipline but TLT staff are not. So this faculty support service should be 'one size fits all departments.' Is that true at your institution?

PS Anyone who knows the work of "the Steves" knows how many of the thoughts in this series come wholly or partly from Steve Gilbert. Our thinking has been so intertwined over so many years that it's not even possible to point out which of the observations in this series originated from him and which from me.

PPS You probably know that this post is part of a series called 'Ten Things I (no longer) Believe about Transforming Teaching and Learning with Technology.' If you like these posts, please spread the word. Perhaps you can use these ideas to help with a more intentional approach to TLT planning.

And join us online for a free, live discussion of these issues on Friday, October 23, at 2 PM ET. It's part of our FridayLive series. If you don't already have a FastPass, click here to register. Thanks!

No comments:

Post a Comment

What do you think?