Our job is to work with faculty to integrate educational technology in their courses. That means training with a capital T, as well as running special events (guest speakers, symposiums, webinars, etc.). But connecting with them is no easy feat.
A little background…
We follow college protocols, writing stories and events for our Intranet, but many instructors are simply not logging into the site. So, we’ve opted to write pleading emails to the Admin Officers, Chairs, even the Deans, asking for their support in getting the word out about our training events. Though more successful than relying solely on our Intranet, we still haven’t achieved critical mass. Hey, we’ve even gone old school, designing posters with catchy graphics to attract people. And, yes, we’re blogging too…
I’ve gotta’ tell you: it’s more than a little deflating to have two people show up for a planned event when 30 were expected. Considerable energy is spent strategizing, writing, and promoting training opportunities. And, it isn’t just us. It seems that most PSE departments in support roles are all trying to reach their respective audiences, but with less-than-stellar results.
So, here’s what we worked out:
We’re adopting a concierge model. Instead of trying to reach out to the greatest number of faculty possible, we’re focusing on those who approach us for help: consulting with them about their course design, discussing desired learning outcomes, reviewing the ed tech options, then designing learning objects that match those outcomes. These same faculty are asked to present their experiences to other interested instructors, forming a group of faculty mentors.
“This is nothing new,” you’ll say, and you’re right. But we are looking at faculty mentors through a new lens to assist them with their goals, while at the same time promote our agenda, which is ultimately connecting with faculty. A truly symbiotic relationship is what we’re after.
Since this model is still very much in its infancy in our department, we’ll keep you posted on our results. Fingers crossed!