How to offer training workshops to busy faculty?
As we head into the semester where faculty are beginning to write and prepare midterms, as an Instructional Technologist I feel I am obligated to demonstrate uses of technology which I think will help faculty prepare their students so they can do well in all their exams and classes. I planned a workshop which involved giving faculty an opportunity to experience Moodle from a student's perspective which in turn I would hope they could see the potential of using Moodle in another manner. I also wanted to have faculty converse and share their experiences with what about and how has Moodle affected their teaching.
The beginning of the workshop involved faculty logging into Moodle to take a quiz simulating the use of an available practice quiz. Based upon feedback, quiz takers can receive instant feedback and awareness of which areas they should focus studying in if they did not perform particularly well. Providing practice quizzes through Moodle gives students an easy opportunity to gauge how well do they know their course material.
The next part of the workshop involved the gradebook with viewing assignments and the grades that were assigned. Providing an updated listing of course assignments and grades allows a student to know exactly where they rank in the course without needing to ask the instructor.
The final part of the workshop was the communication tools in Moodle which are the discussion forum, the chat feature, and Quickmail - a way to directly email all or specific students in the class.
While I think I did my due diligence in showing and explaining the tools of Moodle, we had a serious lack of faculty discussions. Although I also cannot blame the faculty because I only had one attendee until about 35 minutes into an hour long work workshop when another faculty member showed up. I would be lying if I did not say I was disappointed, having faculty attend was the whole intent of having a workshop verses having a one on one consultation. To those who are wondering, I did have 2 workshop dates - one on a Tuesday and another on a Friday to provide an opportunity for all teaching faculty to attend. Tuesday only had one attendee and Friday had almost two attendees - I would say about 1.7 attendees.
Now I understand that faculty are busy, truth is so am I! But this was not the first time we had workshops with a low turnout. Perhaps faculty are simply so busy they cannot attend due to completely booked schedules despite truly wanting to hear about Moodle, seeing other emerging technologies, and having conversations with other faculty.
I still do want to share what I can with faculty but if faculty continue to be too busy to attend specific workshops, creating virtual workshops possibly in Moodle may be the only viable solution. I like the dynamics of a live face to face discussion but if we cannot bring faculty into the same room at the time, the virtual classroom may need to be the next best thing.
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