why I am probably the wrong person for my job…

she likes the asus, too, originally uploaded by pilgrimgirl.

At Chapman I spend a lot of time coaching faculty on how they can use technology in the classroom. This past week–the first week of the semester–numerous times faculty have told me “I just don’t want to learn one more piece of software.” This usually happens after I’ve gushed about some type of tool that would help them solve a problem.

I gush far too much.

What the faculty need is not someone like me who loves to experiment with new software, who thinks a great weekend is one that involves a fresh install of WordPress, or who dreams about digital tools (yes, I’m embarrassed to admit that many of my dreams have involved magical plugins). They need someone who thinks they way they do.

6 thoughts on “why I am probably the wrong person for my job…

  1. Leslie M-B

    A former director of the UC Davis teaching center–a distinguished, end-of-career professor who embraced technology–once explained to me that faculty are willing to learn two new technologies every three years. "And," he added, "sending an e-mail with an attachment counts as two of those."

  2. jana

    What is it that makes the difference between someone who wants to learn and is facile with new technologies….and those that just freeze? There must be some element of psychology happening there that I need to understand better at what I do.

  3. Megan

    Leslie M-B is spot on. I personally know:

    4+ faculty members who are still using Word Perfect. 5.

    7+ faculty who are using the unsupported email program abandoned four upgrades ago

    1 of whom has to ask for help to do an email attachment. EVERY WEEK.

    14+ faculty who will not, cannot learn the program that allows them to input grades at the end of the semester.

    From this group, 5 want me to teach them to design and maintain their own website.

  4. Maggie

    For some of us it's not about whether we 'want to learn and are facile' vs 'we just freeze' … it's just a time-management and priority issue.

    I was programming in Fortran when Bill Gates was in high school. I loved learning it and appreciated the way it helped me in my job, streamlining computational tasks that used to take all day into results in less than an hour.

    But the present pace of software development means that as much as 30% of my work day is taken up with learning the upgrades … often with no corresponding increase in productivity. The fact that MSWord now has dozens of features that I don't need has just meant that it's harder to find the features I use most often, because the software folks keep assigning them to a new menu.

    When this necessity comes along more often than annually, you're darn right I resist.

  5. Elissa Minor Rust

    Oh, my dear Jana. You know how much I love my technology. I volunteer for all the new software pilots. (Up late tonight developing distance learning pilot classes on our college's new trial learning platform right now . . .). I want to apply for a job at Chapman someday so I can be your little techie groupie. 🙂 I've started incorporating the ideas you shared when I visited for a website using WordPress as a CMS and am already SO much happier with what I've got than the old piece of crap . . . much still to do, but . . . (Why the hell is this comment so laden with ellipses? Here are a few more . . .)


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