Thursday, September 30, 2010

DiSC Profile

This past Tuesday I attended Part 1 of 3 workshops called, "Working Collaboratively to Serve Our Students." The focus for most of the workshop was on getting to know more about each of the attendees, who were new employees at DU, and reviewing/discussing the results of our DiSC profile that each of us had taken earlier.

I had forgotten that I had taken the DiSC profile before, but when I saw the results graph, I immediately recognized it. It looked the same as it did when I took it over 10 years ago. Ugh! My primary dimension is a high "C" (Conscientious) and my secondary dimension is a fairly high "S" (Steady). I'm fairly low in both the "D" and "i" dimensions, which means I'm conservative (ok with me), mild, quiet, unsure (double yuck), dependent (double yuck again) and modest (ok) and logical (ok) controlled, retiring (double yuck) suspicious (yuck) and pessimistic (yuck again). I'm not totally thrilled by the results as it frames me as a very boring person, at least in my mind it does. On the other hand, it definitely provides some benefits to my employer as I'm accurate, conscientious, steady, calm, and systematic and consistent in achieving results.

So, my question then is, "How does this relate to my role as Instructional Technologist"? I'm not sure. In my mind, it doesn't seem to fit as well as some of the other profiles would. It does fit as a project/production coordinator, which is what I did for 12-14 years and it did fit within the role of Instructional Design Technician position at my previous employment, since the position was really about completing projects.

In my new role, at my new employer, there are a lot of technology projects that could and possibly need to be addressed and I can see that my being involved would be helpful, but I'm not sure that is what I was hired for. Additionally, I don't know that we have the resources we need to complete the projects. I do have to admit this is another area that I'm usually good at. I usually can find the resources I need to achieve what needs to be accomplished. The only issue that I won't have any control over and can make the difference as to whether or not the results are successful is getting the money to obtain the resources needed. Hmmm...I guess I need to meet with my boss sometime soon to clarify and plan a few things.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Instructional Architect vs Builder

Over the past two weeks, I've searched for a description of my role as an Instructional Technologist (IT) that would better define the role for me, that would help me to "see" how the role fits within the Instructional Design (ID) team, specifically, and the DU Online team overall.

One of the first descriptions I came across that provided an overview of what I do was by blogger, Amy Thornton. In her blog post called, "What Does an Instructional Technologist Do?", Amy breaks her job down into six points of focus:
  • Evaluate new technologies to discover new and better ways to enhance instruction
  • Assist faculty in discovering methods of improving their instruction with and without technology
  • Conduct training sessions teaching faculty and staff how to use new technologies
  • Conduct research studies evaluating the use of technologies and their impact on student learning outcomes
  • Create training materials to accommodate the self-learners and provide resources for our “customers”
  • Manage the implementation of new technologies on-campus for the use of instruction.
This is an accurate picture of what I feel I should be doing and will be doing (once I have some additional training and direction) with one exception. The "implementation of new technologies" will be for online rather than inseat or "on-campus," although it's not completely impossible that I will participate in implementation for inseat eventually.

Even though I now had a description that gave me an overview of what I need to be doing, I still questions how I should be fitting in with the ID team. Obviously, some of this direction will come from my boss and from the ID that I work with, but when I came across an EDUCAUSE Quarterly article from 2005, called, Leadership in Instructional Technology and Design: An Interview, written by Peter DeBlois (2005), I found the exact description that made sense and reflected the views of the ID on our team.

DeBlois interviewed two faculty members and three participants, at the end of the first Instructional Technology Leadership Institute held in 2005. One of the faculty, Lawrence Ragan, described the two branches of instructional technology and instructional design in this way, "The designer's role is to craft a learning experience so that you achieve an outcome, and the technologist's job is to create the environment for that to happen in." He went on to say, "Think of an interior designer. He isn’t the one doing the building; he tells you where he thinks the lighting should go and how things should be arranged. He doesn’t build the furniture. The technologist says, “You want a chair, I’ll build you a chair.” The designer is the one who has to think about placing it." In other words, the ID is the "architect" and the IT is the "builder."

I like this description and believe that I have the skills and natural ability to be the "builder." But having said that, I recognize that there are several software programs used by the ID and others in the DU Online team that I need to learn and learn quickly to be better able to assist them effectively. Additionally, I need to learn the ID's "instructional blueprint" to be better able to "build" appropriately and become more aware of "institutional" and "campus" priorities to build the right things at the right time. At least now I have a focus!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

New places and new faces...

Monday was my first day at my new job. I'm working as an Instructional Technologist at DU in GR. Although it takes time to adjust to a new place and new faces, I think I'm going to like it. The culture here seems more business-like, than it did at my last position, but I'm not surprised since one of DU's strengths is its focus on educating students for careers in business, information management, and health professions.

One of my responsibilities will be to educate and encourage faculty in the use of technology to better engage students and enhance learning. Although challenging, this is an area I am excited about and look forward to being involved with.

Today I've attended a Wimba session on Blackboard 9 at the DU Connect '10 online conference. Later tonight I hope to attend a couple more sessions, along with attending sessions tomorrow. Not only does this introduce me to some of the faculty members and online team members, it also gives me an idea of how things are done here at DU.

I'm hoping to be able to update this blog more regularly in the upcoming weeks and months and begin sharing some useful ideas and tools.

Thanks for listening!