How can we identify and overcome the challenge of getting lecturers “on board”?

How can we identify and overcome the challenge of getting lecturers “on board”?

Home Forums Redesigning the Distance Learning Environment at the Makerere University How can we identify and overcome the challenge of getting lecturers “on board”?

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  • cath

    said

    Sometimes lecturers do not see the need to change their existing teaching practices and are “comfortable with the traditional methods of instruction”, as Michael put it. In what ways can we identify and overcome these challenges in order to help lecturers “get on board”?

    Caroline

    said

    What would be important is to identify individuals who would be willing to embrace technology and use them as change agents. Another issue based on my observation is that most lecturers teach many courses (they teach full time load and extra part time courses)and this leaves no room for any change or attempt to use technology since this could be time consuming. Making technology available and user friendly technologies would encourage lecturers to come on board.

    cath

    said

    Hi Caroline. Welcome to the forum. 🙂 You raise two interesting points:

      Champions:

    I agree that making use of “champions”, would be a good approach. When you have someone “on the ground” that is able to practically demonstrate how technology can be integrated and utilised, it makes something which initially may seem foreign seem much more relevant and far less threatening. Do you think it better to have an existing lecturer who can act as a “champion” or is it better if a new person is introduced?

      Time:

    You are correct that many lecturers do teach multiple courses/classes and finding the time to learn something new or implement a new technology is seen as a challenge and consequently pushed to the bottom of the priority list. However, as Michael mentioned in his presentation, change is something which will happen gradually over time. The trick is starting with a small effective change and letting that develop and grow. Any ideas as to what an effective starting point might be, where a small (non-threatening) change could have a noticeable impact?

    Tony

    said

    Hi Cath, Caroline (and Michael too). I was struck by the tension between the idea of gradual change and the need for change agents and champions. For a whole institution or even a teaching department change is likely to be gradual when examined over a long period however for change to happen there must be discontinuities when individuals and groups of educators make and experience changes that are so big and successful that they feel motivated to persist and can inspire others to join them.

    Does anyone here have experiences of this kind that you would like to talk about?

    cath

    said

    I agree with you Tony that changes which are “big and successful” have the potential to motivate. I have previously worked in a situation where the use of “champions” was not altogether successful. After setting up well equipped labs (with internet access) and training designated “champions” what happened was that :
    1) The champion acquired new skills and was empowered and motivated
    2) the champion successfully transmitted these skills and motivation to the students at the school
    3) the champion was not able to motivate the teachers at the school who consequently became even more distant and removed from the integration of ICT in their teaching and saw the champion as being there to “do everything for them” and therefore absolved them of any IT learning / teaching responsibility! (A case of “the more they do, the less I have to do!!)
    Finding the right motivating factor can be very tricky – implementing IT so that it is accepted and seen as a help and not a challenge, can sometimes be a very delicate formula where one needs to be aware of all the factors involved in order to create a workable solution.

    Caroline

    said

    As Cath pointed out, champions may not always succeed but i still think that they are important in effective change in any institution. Therefore the question, would the use of technology enhance teaching and learning and and if so, are all teachers/lecturers in agreement? If not, what would be their concerns. Thus, understanding lecturers’ or teachers’ feelings and thoughts about online learning would help in designing programs that will slowly lead them embrace online technologies. Also, introducing technology gradually and giving lecturers enough time to transition would be helpful.

    cath

    said

    Absolutely Caroline – I think you have raised a very important aspect. One needs to do initial research to fully understand all the influencing factors within a scenario before proposing a solution. Just appending technology or throwing it into the mix is not the answer, BUT careful and considerate application of appropriate and relevant technology can make a world of difference. So doing investigation and research first of all in order to understand a situation fully, by getting first-hand information from the source, is vital. I have found, when doing such research, one often receives some surprising and enlightening information that one may never have thought were issues at all. Sometimes the concerns and issues are multiple and vast. In these cases, one cannot keep all of the people happy all of the time! What strategies would you employ to prioritise which of their concerns to address first?

    Hi everyone

    Apologies for responding so late but I am out in rural Mpumalanga trying to get educators and learners to access and use technology for teaching and learning. My observation is that there is a need to incentivize – create time for people to learn and become comfortable with using technology and developing resources, acknowledgement of some form if they do use it – could earn CPD points or even technology (learn as you earn), plus institutional policies that encourage support and implementation of ICT. Champions are great but generally my observation is that they continue to better themselves whilst others then become dependent on them but don’t necessarily get fully engaged.

    Alice

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