In 2006 I started supporting online education as a student worker on a helpdesk. Since then I've taught online and supported online education in some capacity. Some lecturers were leaders or early adapters and needed little help, but rather the spotlight to showcase their example for their peers. Some lecturers needed support like the "wood". Some lecturers made it clear that they would never teach online unless there wasn't an option. Well.... here we are. What do we do with the "Erasers"? Now what? This group didn't want to be here in the online education realm.
Let's look back at the pencil. In 2020, almost everyone on the pencil was shoved forward at least one notch, depending on the course. For example, here at TU Delft, there are still courses that need access to a lab, thus the course may have shifted from in person to blended rather than fully shifting online.
Who Wants to Be an Eraser?
Looking at the metaphor, who really wants to be an eraser...during a pandemic...as an expert in their field?
Perhaps this is why some experts didn't grab on to online teaching earlier. Not being an expert in online teaching, but being an expert teacher might feel uncomfortable.
How do we motivate an expert to join the pack of their peers teaching online? Let's go Dutch and talk about the bicycle. Besides, a bicycle lasts longer in life and is more fun than a pencil.
Learning to Ride a Bicycle Dutch Style
Dutch parents ride next to their child with their hand on the child's back, guiding them up the hill until the child is comfortable to ride up the hill and at the speed of the pack. Similarly, lecturers less comfortable with teaching online may need more support initially until they are comfortable, but at some point, the support is no longer needed or minimally needed. On the pencil metaphor, they become "wood", if we talk about the bicycle, they join the pack.
When I support a lecturer who is new to online education, I ask them first what they use now, what they are comfortable doing, and what they want help with. After I understand their goal and their comfort level, then I explain what tools are supported. Within time, the lecturer feels the success of what they design online, and they come back ready to add more to their course and make their online course more engaging.
The First Bike Ride
The Next Level - Suit and Tie
When I first moved to the Netherlands, I quickly adapted to the bike riding life. (If you're unfamiliar with cycling in the Netherlands, check out the article: How I Learned to Cycle Like a Dutchman by Dan Kois.)
For work though, I biked in normal clothes and then changed at work. A few months into living here, my supervisor announced the next borrel (Friday drinks after work once a month). When I arrived I changed my shoes. My supervisor had a suit and tie on with nice shoes. He biked in that. Not being one to be out-done, I quickly adapted further and learned to bike in heels and my work clothes.
By observing and interacting with peers and supervisors, we adapt. Riding a bicycle is a life-long skill, as is online teaching.
Author / Autora
I'm a Learning Developer living in the Netherlands since 2018, with American and Luxembourgish nationality. This blog is dedicated to online education and originated with my take on various tools.
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