Spreading the news

Today I held a sharing session for academics to come and share their teaching experiences online. Unfortunately it was not as well attended as I was hoping. On the upside, through the sharing we’ve found a technical glitch that we can now fix before the students undertake the quiz, so bonus!

What is clear though, is that time poor academics can’t innovate, improve, share, be collegiate, support one another while management continue to add to the workload. On one hand we are asking academics to innovate to engage and retain students, on the other we are asking them to publish or perish. They cannot do both. We are talking about a wonderful and amazing group of individuals who are torn in two.

Anyway, with the people I had today I asked, how do we spread the information to others? How do we spread the news? How do we find time to share knowledge and ideas? A web site? A newsletter? More sharing sessions? One on one?

The answer, in hindsight, is not surprising. The information needs to come at a time when it’s needed in a way it’s needed. Academics need to be able to go to someone when they have the innovative idea, put it out there, ask how it can be done, and be shown then and there how to do. On demand sharing.

This is expensive. It requires one contact point to know all the matters going on in the faculty and then be able to instantly share. Ideally they would know the whole university. I think the university is trying to do this with a central service area, but this has been less than successful to date. Why? Because of trust. People will share and seek support from people they trust. Diane talks to me often on the matter of trust, and today it came home more than ever. We spread the news through those we trust. Now, if only I could put that into a work plan……

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