Labor Saving Techniques
Indiana University–Purdue University Indianapolis
Given that a major goal of the course re-design project is to substitute technology "capital" for faculty teaching "labor," in what particular aspects of the course and its delivery are you finding that you are able to do this?
During the development phase, delivering content in the redesigned sections is more labor-intensive than delivering content in the traditional courses because the use of technology is much greater in the redesigned sections. There is clearly a fairly steep learning curve (steeper for some faculty than for others) involved in learning the technology and becoming comfortable with using it. Interestingly, the instructors with the greatest technological "know-how" also appeared to be the instructors who spent the most time using Oncourse, the IU-developed, Web-based instructional platform which we all use. The instructor with arguably the greatest technological sophistication and experience logged more than 70 hours on Oncourse during the Fall semester. We expect that, over time, as instructors begin to be more familiar with technology use, and as they create reusable material (as did the instructor with the 70+ hour Oncourse time), the amount of labor involved in delivering course content will decrease.
In mentoring and assisting students, the use the different functionalities offered by Oncourse (course messaging in particular) has been very useful. It is much easier to alert students to last-minute changes in readings, discussion topics and assignments. The ability to use one student's query as teaching material for the whole class was greatly enhanced as well.
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