The eLearning Fundi

Random reflections about eLearning in Africa

Getting Close and Personal with Technology

Accepting and adopting eLearning is in away agreeing to your invasion of privacy. It also entails a move from a certain comfort zone, to a zone where you are moving to the very uncertain future of/with technology. It means that at anyplace, anywhere and anytime you are there! As an academic staff member, it means you need to put more and more efforts not only in course preparation, but also in online course facilitation among your other duties. A distressed student will send you an email a few minutes before you sleep, and you will have a number of recorded voice messages in the morning when you get to the office. Consultations are no longer restricted to the office hours thanks to technology.

In my previous blog, I mentioned the role of training and support – it is essential. However, it does not come if not asked for, or there is no need for it. To get close and personal with technology, one need to first acknowledge when s/he is stuck, and ask. Second, one should be willing to assist others with technology. Getting to out of “what would others think of me if I ask this question” or “will I appear stupid if I ask?” is the initial step. Asking technical questions come with practice – just like starting a blog like this one and telling everyone what your thoughts and reflections are. So, as a first step do not shy off asking your teenage daughter something to do with your phone. The second step is offering to assist. In line with an old Christian (I guess) philosophy that you gain more in giving than in receiving – offering to assist when you can not only boosts your confidence in the use of technology but also empowers someone. If the cycle of assisting each other with technology is enhanced and propagated, we can form a formidable team of experts!

In summary, to be close and personal with technology you acknowledge that you will be required to be available anywhere anytime, you admit that you cannot know everything to do with technology and that it is not stupid to ask a question, and you recognise the value of assisting others with technology related problems. To assess how close and personal you are with technology count the number of days you have worked from home, you have slept late replying to emails, you received 10 voice messages in a day, you called the technical department for assistance, you asked your son which key to press, you colleague came to ask you something about your latest laptop and so on.

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