Buried in my work in late 2021, I had thoughts about the upcoming new year but did not say “2022” out loud. I admit the first time I saw this meme I had a small amount of anxiety come over me. No, no, no, we are NOT doing 2020 all over again. Thank you very much, but no. Almost 22 months to the day that we all pivoted, in one way or another to remote everything, the Covid-19 virus is still with us with the Omnicron variant. However, with a lot of hard work and doggedness, we are all a bit wiser about how to teach quality online courses, how to create community and student interaction during Livestream (Zoom) courses, how to create a lab assignment for students to do at home or how to make sure students quarantining can still learn how to fix an engine with live webcams.
By nature, I am a glass is half full kind of person. Although I am not without my moments of cynicism or snark, I believe in better days ahead even when things look the darkest. A week into the new semester I see hope for so many new paths and adventures for the college as we begin to dig into the NMC Strategic Action Plan. I am excited for the new video repository and creation system, Panopto, which offers new features for faculty to create quality, interactive videos for courses and gives students new learning tools like a robust search function, bookmarking, and automated captioning. Transitioning a major system between platforms (and vendors) always presents some challenges but the Ed Tech team is prepared to be the steady guide. In addition, a small group of faculty is piloting a tool called Yellowdig, that curates student discussions and engagement in an online environment which is familiar to students using a social-media-like design. Despite all the things that have changed from March 2020 until now, the wonderful professionals at NMC are still willing to explore new pedagogical tools to help our students succeed.
Along with the start of a new semester, the Ed Tech team welcomed a new team member. Eric Carlson started on January 10th as the new Instructional Technology Specialist, replacing Justin Guillard. Eric comes to us from Ali Thornton’s help desk team and worked in that position for 2 years, so he is not unfamiliar with NMC, the systems we support, and faculty. Like so many of our students, Eric found his way to higher education later in life, completing his degree at age 40. This delayed path has shaped his love for helping students and faculty in his previous help desk role and now with Ed Tech.
Most of the Ed Tech team is working a hybrid schedule, so the best way for assistance is via a help desk ticket or to pop into our twice-weekly Zoom office hours. Office hours are on Monday and Wednesday from 10 am – 2 pm. The Keep Teaching – Ed Tech & CIE Support calendar lists our office hours and other support sessions like the Panopto training. Please take a look when you have a moment.
Finally, I cannot take credit for finding this video (Ryan) but it is well worth viewing and a reminder that for as long as “technology” has changed, support has been needed.