Journalism, teaching and digital media technology

I just spent an enjoyable two days in the student role in a technology workshop formalizing my e-learning software knowledge. While I don’t mind getting all technical, I couldn’t help but get all reflexive about what I was doing.

First, I realized quickly that I had come to this table no blank slate. When I got stuck inside the e-learning system, my self-taught blog management skills and imposed maintenance of webpages for my department for a few years paid off handsomely.

From widgets to file management, pixel counts to html content editors, these interfaces are beginning to elide. It is all getting so wysiwyg and intuitive, if you know some web creation tools in one context, you’re in good shape for the next.

Second, even if it was intuitive, there’s no question that e-learning requires a lot of front-end, trial-and-error time and energy to be invested well before you can think about what content you want to deliver.

I can imagine this realization would put up a horribly frustrating barrier to teaching what you’ve always taught. If you’re not a techno-type (or, heaven forbid, a techno-phobe), the dawn of ‘blended learning’ is not going to be fun.

If you’re teaching something for the first time, ever, you’re also now facing more work than you might have anticipated for prep.

My blessings and good karma to people in learning support who will be dealing with the increasingly harried inquiries as the summer wanes.


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