Marjory Thrash

How to support new instructors

Blog Post created by Marjory Thrash on Aug 15, 2017

How to support new instructors

This is of course my own perspective, based on first using Bb (boo hiss) and then migrating to Canvas.

  1. Get them into the institution's Canvas training ASAP.  Do this even if the user believes he/she won't need it.
  2. Be completely firm at all stages, "Thou shalt be a Canvas user!" Instructors need to hear this not just from eLearning but from administration, department chairs, fellow insructors, and even students (students are huge cheerleaders for Canvas)
  3. Establish the individual instructor's comfort level with basic Learning Management Systems.  Cross training from Bb/Moodle/D2L/Angel, etc. is much different from the instructor who has no familiarity with any system.  The complete newbie needs more foundational support.
  4. Have an example class and enroll instructors as teachers, so they can truly dig around and see how things are set up.  I've talked until positively blue explaining the difference between a page and an assignment, but just letting the instructor see a course in action resolved the question immediately.
  5. Be prepared to spend personal time with an instructor as a mentor.  For example, I offer new instructors 2 free hours of my time, either as 1 session or split into several small meetings to specifically help set up the class.  Generally, I do this with new full time instructors in my department, but I've also assisted full time instructors for other disciplines and our dual enrollment teachers.  They have the training offered by our excellent eLearning, and they know about all the Canvas resources, but mentoring can be very reassuring.
  6. Consider a "Playground" much like we have in this new group.  Here at PRCC, the Humanities and Social Sciences Department have a Playground, with a subset just for English.  Every instructor (full, adjunct, dual enrollment, online) has teacher privileges, so we can add, copy, amend information, quizzes, examples).  We have common forms, such as the office hours schedule and common handouts such as proofreading marks)..
  7. Constantly recommend the new instructors investigate Commons or search YouTube for methods or student guides.