Monday, September 12, 2005

Put the mouse down and step away from the computer

This will be my once a semester rant about technology challenged faculty. In a numbered list.

1. Do you know how to read instructions? Do you not see the big, giant question mark that leads you to help?

2. Do you read email either? How many notices have I sent out, pointing you to specific help?

3. When I say that the problem lies with another system--say, the registrar--I mean it. I cannot fix the registrar. I'm good, but not that good.

4. When your students come to you when they've missed a class and basically ask you to give them the lecture again ("Did I miss anything?"), don't you get frustrated? Well, so do I. No, I will not provide a play-by-play of a workshop. I will post information online afterwards, but see numbers 1 & 2 above.

5. Basic usability, people. You can't expect your students to navigate a course without any clear indicators about where to go for what. If you're not using an area, remove the link. Rename links appropriately.

6. Please don't decide to try something new (for you) two days before classes begin. I cannot hold your hand through the process and help the 60 other faculty who are dealing with any number of the above issues or are actually trying to do innovate things in their classes.

7. If you want your students to use the course management system extensively and you don't know how to use it yourself, have an IT person come and do a demo for your class. Don't expect them just to know. This goes for any technology really. Better yet, learn how to use it yourself so you can use it more effectively.

8. I don't know everything about technology. I am a multimedia and instructional technology specialist. I'm dumb when it comes to things like specific email clients that I don't use or specific software programs that I don't use. Whenever I hear, "You might not be the right person . . ." or "While I have you on the phone . . ." my head starts to spin. I'm happy to direct you to the appropriate person.

I really want to help. I do. But you're not making it easy when you're behaving like 4 year olds. Try first. Try to find the information. Then ask. I have a 5 minute rule myself. I'll try to figure something out for 5 minutes. If I can't, then I ask. If it's a really hard task, I'll give myself a little longer. I'm sure I said almost the exact same thing sometime last year.