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An Instructor Tech Floor
May 27, 2010 - 9:29pm

Dean Dad's "A Nerdy Academic's Tech Wish List" got me thinking about what tech behaviors and abilities that I wish every academic would adopt and posses. If I could wave my magic wand and set a floor, a baseline, for instructor use and adoption of technology in teaching then which behaviors and competencies would I wish into existence?

- The LMS: In 2010 the uniform practice should be at a minimum to place a syllabus, links to any articles and readings, and library materials, into the LMS. Basic use of the LMS grade book, to at least let students assess their standing in the course, is highly desired by students.

- Class Video: The final migration of long-form video from class time to instead distribution through the LMS (or another online system). Short clips shown in class that are interspersed with discussion and lecture are wonderful. Precious class time no longer needs to be taken-up showing any videos longer than 15 minutes.

-PowerPoint: Unlike others, I think teaching with PowerPoint is just fine. What is no longer reasonable is to show text-heavy slides that use small font. Instructors should make sure that slides are designed using appropriate visuals, diagrams, and brief snippets of text. Never read off the PowerPoint.

- Class Capture: If your school provides a class/lecture capture system, I hope that you will at least consider giving it a try. In my experience the concerns about attendance are hugely overblown, with student's reporting greatly improved learning and productivity when they can pay attention to the class without having to furiously write every word down.

- Testing: High stakes tests, whether essay or multiple choice, are critical in many disciplines and courses. My hope is that instructors take advantage of the ability to easily offer low-stakes computer graded formative assessments (practice and retention quizzes) through the LMS.

My last wish is that every instructor, whether you are a seasoned tenured faculty member or post-doc teaching your first course, should try to get to know your learning technologist and subject librarian. Many of us come from teaching backgrounds, we understand your pain points, and we get just how busy you are. We are committed to partnering with you to solve your teaching challenges and to help you meet your teaching goals.

What would you add to the list?


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