Monday, February 22, 2016

Avonlea Hanson: e-Learning Consultant

Kaltura, Padlet, OneDrive.  Although these things may sound like words from a different world, they are actually three of several helpful technological tools to use in your courses.  New technologies like these are becoming available all the time, making it all the more overwhelming to begin considering how you can use them in your own curriculum.  Luckily, there’s an app, er, I mean, a person for that!  Recently, I had the privilege to sit down with Avonlea Hanson, one of UWEC’s talented e-Learning Consultants, to ask her some questions about her work here on campus and how she is able to help others wade through new technologies to find the right one for them.

What does an e-Learning Consultant do?

The first topic of our conversation centered on the basics.  I wanted to know what exactly an e-Learning Consultant does on campus.  Avonlea explained that consultants spend most of their time helping instructors develop their online courses, working with them to decide what kinds of technology fit best within their curriculum, and assisting them with incorporating new technologies into their courses.

What are some of the technologies that e-Learning Consultants can help with?

Whether you have questions about D2L, or you’re interested in putting the power back in PowerPoint, your campus e-Learning Consultants can help you further develop these skills so that you can run your course like a technology master.  Tools like Kaltura work well for streaming videos, Padlet operates as a live discussion board, OneDrive is an easy way to share and collaborate on information, and all of these can work as seamless ways for students to fully interact with the material and each other in your courses.  Did you stumble upon an online resource but aren’t quite sure whether or not it could work for you?  Ask a consultant!

What’s something unexpected that e-Learning Consultants can help with?

Flipped classrooms and hybrid courses are becoming more and more prevalent within the world of education.  This means transitioning between face-to-face content to screen-based content.  E-Learning Consultants can help you translate all of the materials that you have prepared for face-to-face presentations into digitally-accessible formats.

What are the best and most challenging things about being an e-Learning Consultant?

Exploring new technologies and helping instructors match up assessments to learning goals are just two of the things that Avonlea is most passionate about when it comes to her work as an e-Learning Consultant.  She works hard to stay up-to-date on the new tech tools that can be used in classrooms to promote better learning and more involved education.  This also works as a double-edged sword as keeping up with those changes is also the most challenging part of an e-Learning Consultant’s job.

What tips do e-Learning Consultants have for instructors?

“Come talk to us!” Avonlea says with a smile.  There are so many good things about utilizing e-Learning Consultants to make your courses better.  Some things to keep in mind: consultants are flexible—they work with you to provide as much or as little assistance as you’d like; meetings with them are individualized—they use a one-on-one technique to target your needs exactly; they work directly with your goals—consultants consider all aspects of your course in order to help determine which tools will work best for you.

There you have it!  Working with e-Learning Consultants is a great way to up your technology game in the education world.  Whether you’re considering a hybrid version of your class, teaching full-fledge online courses, or just looking for better ways to utilize technology in your face-to-face courses, UWEC’s team of technology experts are amazing resources to have.

For more information including how to contact members of the technology team, check out the CETL staff page

Written By: Jessica Moser

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