A few weeks ago, I got to speak with my colleague and friend Joe Antonelli at Middleburry College about his work in Educational Technology. Like me, Joe gets to wear many hats as an instructional designer, and most recently, as a new adjunct faculty member teaching his first class at Middleburry about Design Thinking. We talked a lot about where instructional design meshes and fits into the mission libraries and IT departments, which often offer similar and different services that are ripe for collaboration. One noteworthy observation we stumbled across, which got me thinking about the History of Ed Tech part of the ITAP module, is that instructional designers are the most recent addition to both organizations compared to our librarians and programmer colleagues; that is, librarians and coders were what created libraries and computing centers in the first place! This led me to ponder how, at least in the instructional design’s case, it can be somewhat of a mixed blessing hierarchy and reporting-wise for academic computing to fall under the broader purview of information technology, when in fact they are quite distinct. In some cases academic computing falls under the academic affairs division (and that’s nice because that group has the most clout on campus leadership wise), yet at other times, academic computing and all other IT aligns with administrative computing, not just the nuts-n-bots of classrooms and podiums, but more importantly a critical foundation block of the business and finance family which encompasses vital functions and operations across campus. A good question came up about the role of a CTO/CIO whose primary responsibility is the business and information technology operations and who often reports to a CFO or CEO, first and foremost, but also has the important supervision of the creativity and innovation in teaching and learning. In a word, IT largely is understood by its more classic name administrative computing, computational systems on behalf the administration. Later to the game, once email became mainstream, audio visual resources and later multimedia and the World Wide Web permeated campus culture, so too came along the need to organize learning content digitally in a dashboard portal of sorts… this led to the creation of academic computing which rolled out today’s LMS and remains a flagship service on our campuses. Finally, we talked about the integration of ERPs and SIS’s with LMS, and challenges to make standards more interoperable. What’s an ERP, SIS? Go look ’em up!
Joe has been paired with a faculty member in a mentor-mentee type relationship to review his syllabus. It’s become a great way to collaborate on instructional design with his mentor, a two way street of mutual feedback that plays to each other’s strengths. They seem to be learning a lot from each other. Students are also taking a look in their digital work in Joe’s class at the MiddCreate initiative, Middleburry’s Domain of One’s Own exploration. Each student makes a proposal on what it takes for MIddCreate to be a better service. Stay tuned.. that’s an initiative for us all to follow in the liberal arts.. The final project also includes a self-evaluation and invites students to reflect on the technology tools they have available on campus. Using backwards design (or pre-requisites learning), it’s helping Joe organize the delivery sequence of instruction. The hope is for each student to walk away with a strategy framework to evaluate how a new technology will work in their lives. One guiding question is how to humanize on an individual level the selection process of a given tech that brings more value to you. So a new gadget comes along… this will or will not help me in my learning, my job, etc. A roadmap to help guide one’s self awareness, fine-tune a critical lens about decisions with tech integration in work-life-fit balance.Do you use social media only because every one else does? Or do you go with something else that’s a better fit? Just because the herd does one thing, well, maybe like Thoreau thought, popular opinion as common sense is far from sensical without close examination.There’s a big focus on stakeholder analysis and relationship building with campus tech initiative leaders… Ultimately, Joe’s course is helping students better understand where they are at present with different tech tools as students and consumers. Sounds like a great course, right? Later on, students will hopefully be seasoned, reflective in making informed decisions as tomorrow’s liberal arts world citizenry.