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Learning Technology Coaches

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Who are the Learning Technology Coaches?

The Faculty of Arts has hired a team of Learning Technology (LT) Coaches, with the generous support of the Taylor Institute for Teaching and Learning. Jess, Jennifer, Anna, and Hany are graduate students from various departments in the Faculty who will provide learning technology support for instructors and teaching assistants as needed.

The LT Coaches are trained and ready to help faculty use technology in smart and effective ways to support your teaching. They’re ready to help in two ways: first, by supporting your existing projects; and second, by helping you develop new projects. They can come to your office to help you face-to-face (or faces-to-screen, perhaps) with different learning platforms, and they are available for consultations by phone or by e-mail.

What roles will the LT Coaches fill?

The coaches’ main focus is to help you integrate technologies to support and enable student learning. Coaches will provide tech support and advice on how you can meet your teaching goals. They won’t be able to fix your hardware, but they will focus on training you in programs to reach your goals and promote student learning.

1 / Fixers

If you already know what you’d like to do with a given technology, the LT Coaches are your support team. They’re trained in D2L and TopHat but they’re not limited to those officially supported platforms. They are familiar with tools and resources less common in university teaching like WordPress and Twitter, Basecamp and Slack, Coursera and Udacity.

In short: if you’re using it, your coach will learn it and support it. Their goal is to help you reach the learning outcomes and stick to the principles that prompted you to adopt your technology in the first place.

Coaches are here to make you more comfortable with whatever technology you want to leverage. They won’t judge your knowledge level even if it means showing you how to turn on your laptop.

2 / Catalysts

If you’re part of the 80% of faculty who have those principles in mind but don’t know which platform or tools will help your students reach them, the LT Coaches can help. They are leading-edge thinkers educated in the principles that technologies promote. They can transform your goals into technological solutions. They’re familiar with a range of tools and what learning each one enables. They can navigate the mysterious realms of D2L, but why not create your own classroom domain or course blog?

The LT Coaches can help you inspire students to take ownership of their own learning. For example:

  • > set up an online poll that allows students to vote on their readings
  • > encourage students to participate in discussions and debates through your course’s unique hashtag on the social media sites they already use
  • > actually encourage students to use mobile devices in class to participate in a live, interactive lecture with a backchannel
  • > create a Google Doc for every class that students can collectively edit to create collaborative course notes

The LT Coaches can also help you leverage technologies to reach your teaching goals. For example:

  • > use the hidden features of the smart podium to draw diagrams, or annotate texts to model expert inquiry
  • > make audio or video podcasts to cover some of your materials, and free up some class time for active learning
  • > integrate materials from other institutions’ online courses, from platforms like EdX, Coursera or Udacity
  • > invite a guest lecturer to address the class by videoconference

3 / Connectors

Right now, there are colleagues in the Faculty of Arts doing many of these things. The LT Coaches will work to build networks of like-minded technologically inclined instructors. They’ll know who’s implementing what system and how it worked. They’ll arrange meetings and colloquia to promote conversations within and between units. They’ll develop lists of people with interests and expertise in various tools and techniques. And they’ll run workshops to help spread the word and build those networks.

How do I get started?

Use the form below to submit an idea and request an LT Coach of your very own.

How might you use a Learning Technology Coach?

Here are just a few ideas:

Find out how to transform the mobile devices students already own into powerful tools for active learning and large classroom interaction with programs like Top Hat, or implement blogs, wikis, or discussion forums to encourage students to learn and engage outside the classroom before they arrive for a lecture or tutorial.

Learn how to use the University’s learning management system for more than final grades. Set up a gradebook to track student progress as the course goes on, use discussion boards or surveys, promote digital submissions, post relevant and related course content to share with students, and more.

Students can collect, store, and make connections between artifacts from programs of study, courses, and individual learning experiences.

E-portfolios help students to see how their learning is connected, relevant, and applicable to life outside the classroom, and allow instructors to “quickly and effectively gauge a student’s development of ability over time, and captures many ways of demonstrating knowledge that move beyond traditional exams or writing assignments” (“E-Portfolios: Purposes and Rationale for Use in Higher Education”).

Discover how to create dynamic new presentations, narrate PowerPoint presentations for preservation on the web or for distribution to students, or embed audio or video to assist and augment classroom discussions.

Learn how to facilitate online meetings or classrooms for collaboration between people near and far, which can be recorded or shared, and which include functions to take notes or conduct polls with other participants.

Figure out how best to share your research or class information with students. Decide what type of communication is right for you: a website, blog, vlog, newsletter, social media or something else. Learn how to utilize social media in the classroom by creating a class Twitter Hashtag or creating a class blog or Facebook Group.

The Next Two Years (2015 to 2017)

The LT Coaches in Arts are one piece of a university-wide project designed to integrate technology for the benefit of teaching and learning from here to 2017. Already there are coaches in six other faculties, training under Technology Integration Specialist Leanne Wu.

In the coming two years we hope they will:

  • > inspire multiple new projects
  • > diminish the natural reluctance of some instructors to use technologies
  • > build natural connections across and within units in the Faculty of Arts
  • > connect your teaching practices to others motivated by good principles of student learning and teaching effectiveness

To make an inquiry or an appointment, here is our contact form: