When it comes to faculty development, how prepared are you? With new, technologically advanced products, programs, and systems for higher education debuting at an astounding rate, it’s no wonder many instructors feel overwhelmed. One feasible solution: Holding regular faculty tech training sessions so that administrators, faculty, and students are aware of how the learning field is shaping and evolving.
Holding technology training sessions for faculty in higher education isn’t a brand-new concept, but the need for such programs has dramatically increased. In such an internet-driven age, many institutions assume that instructors who are interested in a particular subject will simply get online and research it themselves. The sheer number of news sites, tech reviews, and product releases can be impossible to keep up with, however, and for time-strapped faculty, time spent researching tech is unlikely. But organizations like nonprofit Educause are working to use information technology and help transform higher education. They’re on a mission to explain effective practices, outline trends, and teach how technology can be of help in the classroom as well as behind the scenes. In fact, they’re leading their annual Educause conference right now in California—and you can learn online in live seminars.
What’s important for administrators, IT officials, and faculty to realize is that faculty development is not a one-time event; it’s an ongoing journey that needs constant upkeep. As executive director Michael Chen of St. Mary’s Center for Instructional Technology in Texas says, “Technology is not just a tool [for faculty] to do their old jobs better. There are new tasks, and they have to realize that. You have to keep changing with the times.” He and school director Jeff Schomburg said that IT officers need to convince their administrations that just as hardware needs to constantly be upgraded and replaced, so do investments in faculty development.
Several campuses have in-depth technology-focused learning opportunities within their faculty offerings. San Jose State University’s Center for Faculty Development has a communication technology department, and though they have an open-door policy, they also make it a point to provide weekly and even daily workshops, seminars, and talks. Being proactive is key: It’s important to train every instructor before anyone feels left behind in the ever-growing world of education technology. From small lunch workshops to faculty-wide training sessions a few times a year, being an educated and knowledgeable faculty member is key—and will help everyone in the long run.