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Our V.I.P.'s
March 3, 2010 - 8:20pm

Learning technology is an academic leveler. For a learning technologist, the most important attribute is not academic rank or tenure status, but enthusiasm for teaching. We treat the adjunct instructor and the postdoc the same way we treat the full professor. Come to us for help in designing your course, or integrating technology to reach your teaching goals, and we will treat you like a V.I.P.

My advice to adjunct and visiting faculty, teaching grad students and post-docs, is to connect with your academic computing department. Go to as many workshops on teaching with technology as you can attend. Schedule an appointment with your learning designer to develop your course in the learning management system (LMS). Integrate the advanced collaboration tools in your course such as blogs, wikis and discussion boards. Think about offering a media project into your course. Ask that publisher material be integrated into your course. Take advantage of the course reserve system to have articles and book chapters scanned and linked to your LMS. Work with the media specialist at your school to have chunks of video digitized and uploaded to your course management system. Have full length curricular movies digitized and streamed. Request that your classes be recorded and made available to your students.

Investing the time to integrate technology into your course will increase your skills. Building out a great course in your LMS for an on-ground section will provide you with materials and skills for online courses, should those teaching opportunities arise. Offer to present to other faculty and your department your experiences in utilizing technology for teaching. Think about writing up your experiences and submitting them for conferences and professional journals in educational technology.

Some magic words you can use when you meet with the academic technology team to plan your course: "active learning", "Bloom's taxonomy", "student centered learning", "peer review", "students constructing knowledge", and "students as creators". Say these words to a learning technologist and watch our eyes light up. Doesn't even matter how you work these phrases into your sentences, simply utter them and watch us swoon.

We love instructors who love teaching. We recognize that there is little correlation between your love of teaching and your job title. Some of the most innovative, creative, and passionate teaching will be delivered by the adjunct professor. Learning to be a great lecturer takes many years, but designing a killer course in your LMS and integrating advanced technologies requires only preparation, planning, and collaboration with your learning technologist. You are our V.I.P.


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