Don Quixote 1 Windmills 0

Some days, working in ed tech can feel defeating. (Can I have an amen?)

Don Quixote - Tilting at windmillsYou feel a bit like technology’s version of Don Quixote – valiantly fighting against the monsters of poor course design and disengagement that apparently no one else can see. And, of course, you’re dragging poor Sancho Panza, your instructional designer, along on your crazed quest. (You can almost feel them whisper about your insane strategic plans as they just look at you like you’ve grown a second or third head in that staff meeting during your presentation, right?)

And then there are those times they’ve begged and begged for training, so you plan all sorts of wonderful interactive sessions to engage your audience in the wonderful world of instructional technology, and you get this kind of crowd:

empty audience

So why do we do it? What’s the pay off?

Because every once in a while, something sticks. Every once in a while, you accidentally, or on purpose, stumble across the right phrasing, the right serendipitous moment, the 2+2=4 thing, and the light bulb goes on, and progress inches forward. And it feels amazing.

It happened this week for me working with one faculty member helping her to better understand how to use her face-to-face versus online time in her hybrid evening class. She’d been struggling to fit all her content in, when she’d never struggled teaching it traditionally.

We talked about the fact that it was a 5 credit class – traditionally that would mean 5 contact hours + an additional 5-10 hours of homework.

Then I explained how in a hybrid class we need to think not in terms of contact hours, but in learning activity hours. So in her case, she would have 2 learning activity hours face-to-face with the students and 3 learning activity hours online with them, and then the students still had 5-10 hours of homework. Sancho added tips for building the activities to interweave them between the online and face-to-face modalities.

Wham! I could almost see the wheels turning in her mind as she realized that the online portion of her class wasn’t idea light bulbsupposed to be the homework – that homework was in addition. And her students would come prepared to class if she created assignments this way.  She was suddenly freed to add more in, and assign the homework she’d been feeling guilty about. We’d found the way to explain the concept that clicked for her this time. She was excited to review her class with this new lens to see it through. It was a real win.

Maybe this will work with some other faculty.

Maybe they’ll show up.

Don Quixote 1  Windmills 0

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