Technology training takeaways

Train both students and faculty

The University of North Carolina at Pembroke uses WebEx to allow students—even those in very remote areas with no broadband internet access—to provide access to lectures online. The IT team initially offered training and on-demand assistance for students only, but its popularity inspired a new category of training focused on helping faculty too, says Nancy Crouch, associate vice chancellor for technology resources and chief information officer.

Link to main story: How colleges reach remote students

Consider face-to-face learning

In 2017-18, UNC Pembroke offered a total of 48 hours of in-person training. “Faculty, staff and students are welcome to attend, although we plan the sessions with faculty in mind,” says Crouch. The team tracks data on the hours spent on support and training to validate future allocation of funds.

Take advantage of training offered by providers

This is the approach taken by the University of Alaska Fairbanks, which adopted a video observation platform from Edthena to observe student teaching interns stationed in remote schools. Amy Vinlove, associate professor in the School of Education, says the student instructional videos are quick and easy to absorb. That basic training is then supplemented by professors who model use of the platform during class.

Look beyond the platform when planning topics

Both professors and students should be familiar with online learning and online pedagogy, says Jessica Retrum, associate professor in the Department of Social Work at Metropolitan State University of Denver, which uses videoconferencing to interact with rural students who are enrolled in its online programs. “We are currently implementing some new processes in our programs that encourage (and eventually will require) ‘learning online 101’ or ‘teaching online 101’ before actually doing it.” The aims: Build a positive culture around learning remotely and gain institutional support.

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