16 For Instructional Support

Everything covered elsewhere in the “Validating” section is relevant to your teaching, but the elements in this section are of particular benefit to your experience of teaching the course. These are items that students are unlikely to notice that nevertheless make your life better.

Research supporting this section. 

Time Saved

You will likely already have a strong understanding of whether you lost or gained time through your use of the new technology — and a decent sense of whether that trend is likely to continue in the future. Getting started with a new tool is inevitably time consuming — much like getting started with any new teaching material — so try to separate the one-time tasks from things that will require ongoing effort. Did the tool save you time grading or did errors and glitches bog down normally functional processes?  As much as possible, try to make an accurate accounting of time saved and lost, even if it is a simple list estimating the number of hours in either direction (and how they came about). This will be a useful data point later when you are reflecting on the overall impact of the tool (see “Reflecting”).

Research supporting this section. 

Pedagogy Furthered

There is potential overlap here with your validation against your course outcomes (see “Against Outcomes”), but it is worth considering the ways that the technology supports or hinders your pedagogy more broadly. This could take as many forms as there are pedagogical approaches — which is to say an infinite number. Take a moment to consider your foundational teaching practices and any new approaches you have been implementing. Then consider whether the technology facilitated any of those approaches — by providing options for contract grading, for instance, or interactive reading experiences. If those differences — positive or negative — were measurable in any way, capture the relevant data. Regardless, you will also want to capture your subjective experience in using the technology to support you pedagogically.

Research supporting this section. 

Insights Provided

Along with providing content, assessments, and means of communication, many educational technologies provide instructor insights. These may include course-wide data on student progress toward particular outcomes, whether or not students have engaged with readings or your feedback, or information on where students are struggling. Consider whether your tool provides any relevant insights. You will also want to assess how reliable these insights are: is it clear where the data is coming from and how conclusions are drawn?  Finally, think about whether these are insights you could have uncovered on your own and, if so, how much effort it would have taken you to do so. Record any concrete data you have gathered around these insights along with your impressions of their usefulness and how easy they are to access and interpret.

Research supporting this section. 

Against Alternatives

If there is no chance that your institution will be altering their choice of technology, you may want to skip this step. Even if you are not a decision-maker, however, it’s a good idea to know what other options are available and how the tool you are using stacks up against them. It may affirm that you have found an effective, impactful option and set your mind at ease that whatever its flaws, you are using the best tool for your purposes. Or it may open up other alternatives for future exploration. The educational technology market is rapidly evolving, so it is worth checking in on the latest options.

If you are making a case for keeping — or dropping — a particular tool, offering brief comparisons can be a valuable and persuasive approach. Consider using a decision-making matrix for conducting and presenting your comparisons.

Research supporting this section. 


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

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