Saturday, October 06, 2007

On eMentors

Here's an interesting thing.

Oaklands College is using eMentors appointed from amongst the students to help teaching staff with "everything from laptops to interactive whiteboards.
"The scheme has helped lecturers overcome their insecurities towards information and communication technology (ICT) while empowering and engaging students."
It's a clever idea, but I would seriously want to argue that if a teacher \ lecturer can't use an interactive whiteboard they shouldn't really be using it. If an institution is using interactive whiteboards as a teaching tool, training should be provided for those that will be using them.

Remember the DFES report on the introduction of interactive whiteboards in classrooms?

Apparently the students are being trained, why not train the lecturers?

I wonder what the lecturers really think of the idea?
I wonder how much are the students paid to support their lecturers?

Sometimes I just wonder ...........


  1. I think there's room for a new role here - similar to the US's Teaching Assistants. I've completed the UoG e-Moderator course and yet I'm not allowed to be a moderator in UoG because I don't have recent teaching experience. However, 90% of the interaction with students doesn't require the time of an academic (paid at academic rates). That 90% is replying to students in forums, troubleshooting technology problems and generally just keeping them involved. Academics should be relegated to second-level support and have their time taken up with the issues that deal specifically with their course material. A college could pay three support staff with the money they pay one academic.

  2. Charlie WilliamsAugust 04, 2008

    Hi from Oaklands,
    The main issue isn't with "training" staff as such. Obviously with a £400,000 investment in interactive whiteboards there was appreciable investment in staff training. However, most people involved it ICT training for academic staff in FE know that there is a large gap between showing someone how something works, and actually getting them to embed it as part of their continuing practice. This is where the eMentors are expected to make a difference.
    All academic staff were trained in the use of Smartboards, are offered one-to-one training, regular Friday afternoon sessions and bespoke group training. The eMentor program is simply a way of making sure this large investment is utilised as much as possible.