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New term, new technology

Women learning in front of computers Photo courtesy of Knight Foundation

For many educators the first day of the January term is a harbinger of exciting opportunities for teaching, research, and—to potentially less fanfare—learning how to use a new LMS or classroom technology.

Technology is now ubiquitous in higher education, and that is a good thing. Predictive analytics are assisting institutions in raising overall retention rates and classroom technology is helping students learn more effectively. This is all well and good, but the introduction of technology this does not always translate into intuitive adoption by educators and advisors.

Here are three ways for institutions to successfully integrate and reap the benefits from education technology this term:

  1. Schedule training
    Set aside time on-campus, or through a webinar, to explain the purpose of the new technology and familiarize educators with it. This will ensure most people have a baseline level of comfort and confidence in understanding and analyzing the data it collects. While it may not be possible to train everyone in a single session, those in attendance will be better equipped to support their peers.

  2. Provide supplemental materials
    Training sessions alone are not enough. Collaborate with department staff and the vendor to ensure your educators have digital and hard-copy access reference materials. This may include a recording of the training session, video tutorials, and readable user manuals.

  3. Have in-house support
    Identify a staff or faculty member to be the primary point of support for the platform or technology. Most vendors are willing to train a faculty member on the advanced technical aspects of the technology so they may act as a first point-of-contact for any issues that arise. This helps the department resolve minor issues in an efficient and cost-effective manner while also ensuring the long-term maintenance of the platform.

  4. Incorporate feedback
    Most education technology platforms offer some degree of customization. Regularly request and act upon feedback to ensure faculty and staff have the tools they need to help their students succeed.

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About the Author: Dustin is a senior account manager with DesignedUX, providing communications and marketing strategy to organizations in education and technology. Dustin is also a part-time faculty member at Centennial College and serves on the board of the Canadian Public Relations Society.

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