22 October 2010

Faculty as Learners

The first of our 2-part faculty workshop on PowerPoint was a nice success. I always feel privileged when I "teach" faculty about pedagogy and technology. Just getting one or two tips about features on software changes their lives, like it does mine, when I do. "Oh you mean I can do that!?" You see their eyes light up and you don't need to do or say anything else. They get it.

I'm really not teaching them; it's more like revealing things to them and helping them come up with sound uses of them. The tricky part is making the reason why accessible.

Most of them are interested in low-workload and low-maintenance approaches. And many have enough experience to intuite when an approach could turn into a time-vampire. There are always a few who bite off more than they can chew. In this workshop we only gave them bite-sizes though, so that danger wasn't there.

Not unlike professionals in corporate settings, faculty seek out professional development that's immediately useful. However unlike corporate professionals, they have a degree of control and autonomy over the work of teaching, and thus, have more room to experiment and explore. Teaching, after all, is a highly creative process and the best teachers exploit that potential.