Academic Technology Support
One of the most effective means of empowering large numbers of students is through faculty support. The liaison approach affords us the opportunity to provide support as problem-solvers, technical consultants, connectors, teachers, and co-instructors. The expected result is a body of faculty who are increasingly capable of weaving appropriate technologies into their programs, improving delivery of content and ultimately student experience.
Liaison work can take many shapes depending on the needs and wishes of the faculty. The primary role of the liaison is of provider or resources and technical connector. Below are the strategies we will use to provide these services.
Curricular requests are typically faculty originated and are often the starting point for identifying needs with follow up work. Understanding what faculty are trying to do and moving them in the direction of the appropriate technology typically requires meeting with them or consulting over phone or email to understand what they are trying to accomplish. This can be followed up by one or more consultations where we train the faculty in using technology. We will continue to set reasonable boundaries and expectations for time spent with any individual faculty, as we need to provide as much support equity as possible across all faculty.
If a need is requested for which there is not a stock answer, it may require a custom solution. This development time is spent customizing our tools or integrating third party solutions to fit their particular need. Custom solutions are what inform us as to what is possible, makes our job interesting, but can also be a huge time consumer. It is important to gauge carefully how much time we can spend on a custom solution retrospective of how many others this might benefit from the investment. If a custom solution is developed for a faculty, this customized approach must carry beyond this one classroom experience so others may benefit from our internal knowledge base. These must be identified in presence.
Engaging with students in the classroom is a high-value connection which directly informs our working understanding of students’ relationship with technology. What workshops do we teach? If a faculty requests a workshop, our strategy as connector is to find the right person to teach the workshop. This is something we will need to establish with each other and other areas on campus.
- Connecting faculty to the areas that provide specialized workshops (such as media, library, science, etc) allows us to leverage the expertise of others in the institution and provide. If we determine that it is a workshop that fits in a specialty area, our role is to contact and arrange for that workshop with the outside group. If it is determined that we are the best suited to teach the workshop, we oblige with expectations.
- Technical workshops should be planned and co-taught with the faculty. This serves the dual purposes of providing quality instruction for the students and raising the faculty’s understanding and skill in using the technology. The goal is that hopefully they may feel comfortable doing it on their own the next time. and we are explicit in our communications with faculty regarding this goal.
- Multiple/progressive workshops should be avoided as this starts to take the shape of staff acting as co-faculty, which we are not unless prior arrangements have been made through the academic deans.