Eight Essential Things To Do To Drive Adoption Of Learning Technologies
Written by Rick Van Sant, Ph.D. Blackboard International
Increasing technology adoption and more specifically, Blackboard adoption, is mostly a matter of having a plan. While there are a few advanced technology users who will naively adopt new technologies, most faculties remain appropriately sceptical about “the next new thing” that comes along.
Critical mass adoption will only happen with a more comprehensive culture change that permeates not only the classroom, but all aspects of the university culture. After a year of looking carefully at universities that are and are not successful with Blackboard, it appears that all successful ones have certain commonalities.
Eight key factors are as follows:
- Align your faculty evaluation process to include rewards for completing training and for technology usage.
- Direct faculty to enter all grades into Blackboard and build the SIS integration so that grades are automatically exported to the SIS.
- Create a Teaching and Learning Centre or an eLearning Centre on each university campus. Ideally this will be staffed by a senior trainer, an instructional designer and a clerical staff.
- Make celebrating educational technology use an every semester event. Hold competitions for best suggestions from students, award faculty for best online course design, or most creative use of technology in teaching. Award the best use of Blackboard in the classroom with a trip to the Annual Blackboard World event.
- Create Blackboard Help Centre and locate it close to faculty offices. Staff this centre with students. Create nice Polo shirts with “Blackboard Support” printed on it and ask students to wear them when they are on duty.
- Make sure to deploy Blackboard Mobile to ensure students have continuous 24/7 access.
- Work to ensure that all other university processes such as admissions, registration, fee payment, library access etc. are also digital. Students and faculty must get used to ALL interactions at the university which must be as digital as possible.
- Training, training, training. Continuous training in both face-to-face and online modalities must run throughout the year. Even if the trainings are sparsely attended, a continuous cycle of both technology and instructional training must be ongoing.
There are innumerable other ways to continuously build a technology rich culture at the university. Remember that the more technology infuses with life on campus, the more likely the faculty is to infuse it in their classrooms.