18 Building on a Successful Implementation

First, congratulations!  Successfully implementing educational technology into your course is a major accomplishment and should be celebrated. Take a moment to bask in the glow of your success and appreciate your and your students’ growth.

When you’re ready to think about next steps, start by gathering all of the data you have on your implementation of the technology (see “Validating” and “Gathering Information”). Look it over. There are likely a lot of bright spots — increased engagement, perhaps, or time saved — and there are almost certainly some places where things did not going as well as you might have hoped.  Building on a successful implementation means understanding both sets of data, good and bad. What to do next is fairly simple — replicate and expand what went well and find solutions for what went wrong. However, there are some strategies that can help you to think about and approach your next steps.

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Incremental Improvement

This advice is given elsewhere in the guide as well, but even after a successful initial implementation, it’s important to understand that this is part of a larger project. “Inventory Your Course” in “Planning” suggests choosing a single assignment or element of your course as a starting point for using the tool. If you have done so, now is the moment to consider whether that is the correct amount of usage, or whether there is another assignment or element that would benefit from a little digital support. This is also the moment to revisit what might have gone awry in your implementation and prioritize the top one or two issues to try to address for next time. If you felt that the tool was a success, it will hopefully be a short list, but unless the problems were dire and created serious blockers to you or any of your students, you will likely want to be selective about how much you try to resolve the next time you use the tool.  Draw on incremental improvement of both positives and negatives to keep the process manageable.

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User Personas

This idea is used widely in both marketing and in software development approaches such as Agile, and it can be a very helpful framework for thinking about your students and their experiences of the tool. There’s no need to create the sort of nuanced, fully-formed personas that are useful for sales. Instead, think in broad strokes. Are there demographics of students who found particular success with the tool?  Are there students whom you may not have noticed at first who might be struggling with it or have barriers to even using it in the first place?

Thinking about personas is a way of segmenting the information you have from and on students (including your own perceptions) in order to try to find patterns that may not have been immediately visible. Perhaps most of the people in your morning session find the tool engaging and helpful as a start to their day, while everyone from a particular major finds it tedious or repetitive because of some mandatory course they are already taking. Thinking about different student personas can help you to ensure that you are being as inclusive as possible in your efforts to refine your use of the tool.

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Course Mapping

If, after a successful test case, you are ready to integrate the educational technology more broadly into your syllabus, consider drawing on course mapping to guide your efforts. This guide recommends a backward design approach to course mapping, meaning that you begin with the outcomes and build from there.

From the outcomes, an ideal approach would be to consider what measures could be used to prove student mastery of those particular outcomes or to prove progress toward mastery. This is where the technology comes into play. Does the tool have any affordances you have not already drawn on — any functionality — that will help your students to make progress toward outcomes (usually in the form of content engagement, practice activities, or formative assessments) or to evaluate that progress (in the form of summative assessments)?

Map all of the potential ways that the technology could be used to support your students in meeting the outcomes for the course.  Some, naturally, you have already implemented, but look over the others and weigh what seems most beneficial. You may not want to implement them all at once (see “Incremental Improvement”), but this course map can serve as a useful reference each time you are ready to incorporate the tool more thoroughly into your course.

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The Change Management Guide to Incorporating Educational Technology Copyright © by Sherry Mooney. All Rights Reserved.

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