Faculty are feeling more confident about teaching with technology since classrooms went virtual almost overnight in March 2020, but the evolving pandemic has presented new challenges and opportunities for incorporating technology into teaching and learning.
These opportunities were discussed during the Technology Forum hosted by the Office of Information Technology (OIT) on Wednesday, February 9. The forum was held as a hybrid event to demonstrate capabilities of hybrid learning environments. The discussion focused on how technology can support continued improvements in the learning experience.
“The Tech Forum was a great opportunity for faculty and staff to engage with all of the major OIT stakeholder groups,” said Sonja Rawn, associate professor of instruction in law enforcement technology.
As a result of the discussion, service owners who represent learning spaces, collaboration tools, teaching and learning tools, and device support have committed to exploring the following suggestions:
- Continue standardizing hybrid experiences in classrooms and improving support response times
- Improve the faculty experience with managed computers in the classroom, such as removing the need for administrative access to adjust some device settings
- Investigate options for reducing the number of times users must reauthenticate to increase time spent on instruction
- Generate and share backup strategies to assure teaching and learning can continue when network traffic or disruption makes video conferencing difficult
- Continue to improve tools to identify, troubleshoot, and fix video conferencing issues
- Expand help materials to support digital accessibility practices and improve closed captioning resources
- Explore additional resources to help faculty save time in creating and modifying class materials given increased demands for recorded lectures and accommodations for absences
- Seek more opportunities to communicate, teach, and market the benefits and functionality of virtual desktops (VDI), which offer access to some popular software titles at no cost.
The feedback was invaluable to help inform the service owners’ decisions about OIT services and tools.
“I regularly interact with my advisory community, but often our discussions are around collaboration used to manage administrative work,” said Tracy Kitts, service owner for collaboration and storage. “It’s great to have a forum where we solely focus on the needs of faculty and students within the learning environment.”
Technology resources were also shared to answer key questions faculty often have in planning for hybrid instruction. Those questions and resources include:
To get involved in continuing discussions about the evolution of teaching and learning technology, consider joining an upcoming advisory community meeting for Collaboration Tools, Learning Spaces, Teaching and Learning Tools, or Computer and Device Support. Vendor-led Top Hat trainings are also available on Tuesday, Feb. 22, at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.