Ch-ch-ch-changes: You want me to do what?

At a recent conference, two colleagues and I induced our session attendees to take on different personas in a role-play. In one, we had an IT director explaining to a department why the university was changing course management systems; in another, we had an instructional designer working with faculty to learn a new course management system. In addition to the lead roles, participants got the chance to play the querulous faculty member, the demanding department chair, and the avid tech adopter. Were we just making life difficult for our participants, or was there a deeper purpose behind our antics?

The idea, of course, was to have the audience arrive at conclusions about how to make a transition from one course management system to another go smoothly. Here are a few of the tips they had:

  • Listen a lot
  • Be empathetic
  • Let people vent
  • Be transparent
  • Ground the conversation in teaching and learning
  • Build trust
  • Faculty listen to other faculty
  • Ask other colleges who have gone through it for advice
  • Pair the move with campus strategic initiatives
  • Be aware of political landscape in the university, college, departments, among individuals

One idea everyone liked was to invite faculty from another institution to come to yours to talk about their system move and to demystify the process a little.

At Northwestern, we’ve made the move from Blackboard to Canvas, but we’re still finding opportunities to connect with instructors around their teaching endeavors. We’d love to hear about your teaching experiments at TEACHx! In fact, you should be a presenter at TEACHx – the call for proposals is open until March 13.

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