Effectiveness of Technology Mediated Instruction
@ONE faculty recently sought out pioneering faculty who are effectively using technology mediated instruction (TMI) to find out more about their successes.
Many of those in the pioneer group had technical expertise before they attempted to integrate technology into their instruction. However, many of those interviewed required training in the new technologies, and all entered new territory as they began to develop instructional materials.
Pioneers who have achieved success with TMI (including those with online courses), often give credit for success to strong administrative support. Susan Adrian of Mission College stresses that administrators must offer faculty encouragement and sufficient autonomy, since development requires letting people loose, with trust, to do the massive development work.
With increased focus on using technology in instruction, it may well be that faculty now transitioning to TMI may not meet the same resistance faced by the pioneers who first sought to integrate technology into instruction. However, the experience of the practitioners clarifies the importance of an administration/faculty partnership. In some cases, this may require educating those with leadership responsibility (both in administrative and faculty positions) in the ways TMI differs from traditional pedagogy and the ways technology can enrich student learning.
As the interviews with these TMI pioneers further reveal, access to and accessibility of technological equipment remains a challenge. Practitioners reported various strategies they employed to meet this challenge. Several tailored their instructional approach and materials to the resources available on their campuses. Others wrote grants to secure extra funding or lobbied locally for better resources.
The focus on resources reveals a pragmatic concern shared by pioneers in the field. If faculty are trained to use new technologies and spend time developing materials, but cannot implement them because of lack of resources, TMI will not become a widespread pedagogical approach. Faculty, who have shown faith in technologys potential and worked hard to translate that potential into their classrooms, may not be willing to update their skills and courses without assurance that students will reap the benefits.
@ONE interviews reveal that administration, trainers, and practitioners acknowledge that given present resources, community college campuses cannot support widespread faculty transition to TMI.
What It Takes To Make TMI Succeed
As technology and instruction become more closely integrated, technical support teams (to upgrade and maintain equipment in labs, classrooms, and faculty offices and to address faculty and students questions and concerns about technology) become a critical component of student success.
All of those interviewed, including those who needed little or no training, commented on the significant time commitment course development requires. The majority reported that their campuses offered inadequate compensation for the time spent (and many found it necessary to seek extra funding).
During the academic year, faculty find that they must meet the ongoing responsibilities of the traditional classroom, campus duties, and professional duties, while managing to find time to learn new technologies, develop materials, and pilot materials. In addition, faculty who required training reported that mastering new technologies, determining how best to apply them to a particular discipline or content area, and then developing or adapting materials required concentrated effort and ongoing commitment.
Determining the right way to apply technology to enhance instruction within a discipline is the challenge as technology begins to further permeate college campuses.
Throughout the 107 community colleges statewide, faculty are coming closer together through the media of emerging technologies. As faculty, the @ONE project provides one good place to connect, one place to find support and information on technology training. Take a few minutes to visit http://one.fhda.edu and join the @ONE eCommunity.