This fall the UIT Training and Documentation Department began offering new online training to members of the Tufts Community. Traditionally the majority of training at Tufts has been face-to-face in a classroom setting, but with members of the community spread across three campuses it can be difficult for people to travel for a training class. Now, due to wider adoption of Tufts remote collaboration tools, faculty and staff may avail themselves of both synchronous and asynchronous online learning options.
The wide range of available training options helps accommodate a host of learning styles and skill levels and many of the department’s current offerings lend themselves to an online teaching and learning environment. Synchronous online webinars offer instructor-led training to members of the Tufts community from the convenience of their computers and are easily-digestible introductions to products and services. Senior Web Applications Director Hugh Robinson is enthusiastic about the new training webinars, “I find the webinar medium to be perfect for quick tutorials on subjects like Twitter, which are easily explained through simple demonstrations and live Q & A.” Asynchronous, or self-paced, training is very useful when one is looking for step-by-step instructions to perform specific functions that can be learned quickly on your own time. If, for example, an individual using Excel needs to insert a chart and does not have time to attend a training class, they can visit the training website and watch a five-minute video about how to insert a chart into a workbook. “The webinars will help us get to better know our customer base and tailor our training to their needs; though as a way to be more service-oriented, we want people to be able to do either,” says Manager of IT Training and Documentation Cristy Maldonado.
“All in all there is great potential. If UIT can develop a repository of different workshops people can learn more flexibly,” says Ken Chui, an Assistant Professor in Community Health and Public Medicine who participated in a recent webinar on Adobe Connect. “I’m very glad you made the class happen. Our department has been in dire need of some teleconference platform because our courses can lag badly due to snow days. I’m going to set up my own workshop in my department to prepare the faculty for snow season by teaching them Adobe Connect.”
Synchronous webinars are convenient, highly effective, and are just as interactive as if one was sitting in the classroom. With the webinar format, individuals can observe, ask questions, and create dialogue with instructors and fellow participants around using product tools and services. Also, all of the information exchanged during the webinar is also shared with participants after the session. “We want to create a learning community with our client base. With the webinars we’re able to draw from across multiple campuses and get everyone on the same page so they have a base-level skill set with this format—something they will be able to easily turn around and repeat,” says Maldonado. “What we hope is that when people are working with us, rather than focusing on small details, we’ll be able to share best practices that are not yet common knowledge and give participants tangible walkaways. As everyone progresses using the tools, they’ll build their skill sets.”
For information on available training options at Tufts visit go.tufts.edu/teld or training.uit.tufts.edu.