Potcert week 4

From where I stopped at the week 4 discussion page.

What I have to say about allowing teachers to transition into online practice is obvious to me, but not to everyone. From my experience:

  • Be sure whoever champions the process has some autonomy. Sending in an “agent” from the management “side” will not work


  • Purchasing and showing ready made courses at the introductory level doesn’t work. People respond best to change in the company of peers they trust. Working on material together at first creates a support community, encourages further learning and re-establishes the sense of independence broken by intrusive orders from the top. (My guess is this process allows people to recover themselves as the ones controlling their career and owners of what they learn. No one (almost) wants to be pushed into getting by at work by performing a role they don’t believe in).

I never had a strategy for working with instructors on technical things. My preference from “training” construction apprentices on the job was to work through problems together. By paying attention and not acting the expert I could feel when “getting it” would begin and just slide out of the picture. (As an aside, it would be interesting to study how teachers make sense of things. “How would I explain this to someone else?” seems to be the operative strategy and I wonder if being accountable for what they know makes teachers so damn serious about how they learn things?)

Also, there are people who won’t learn because their whole being is already a performance. They will enact the role, appear to comply in a way tested over time to fool managers and that’s the best they’ll give. Students shouldn’t be allowed near these people.

Finally there is version of faculty / staff non-cooperation that I find very cool. There’s a few of these outsiders at every institution that orbit outside the gravity on normal expectations. Generally older and very dedicated to their students, these instructors and staff don’t refuse technology, they simply don’t want to waste time on it. Their students are the kind that take three tries to get through foundational courses, need a special kind determination to work with and are always having their programs cut because they are almost invisible. So unless it improves contact, things that add complexities to what their students already struggle with are seen as unimportant.

It’s odd in these times of autonomy there might be instructors needing support to handle a portion of their job. Everyone is supposed to be self-sustaining in everything including technology. Now imagine a teacher who’s able to manage a class of unstable and fairly dangerous students. Investing blood and tears for these guys yet being judged as “uncooperative” for not learning how to set up a grade book in Moodle. To my mind some people do enough and simply need technical support to keep them going. We did this support in our department as an a unmentioned service and every institution will have something like this. No bone-headed managers need know about it.

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