Documenting What We Do

February 13th, 2011 by Howard Wach Leave a reply »

The BCC Office of Instructional Technology opened for business in 2007. We have lots of activities now—faculty development (online courses, ePortfolio integration,  departmental projects combining new technologies with curricular change, all kinds of workshops), new classroom and lab installations, a streaming media server, an expanding tutoring and technology support program, and initiatives of different kinds with both academic departments and our friends in IT. All of these are running more or less simultaneously now. Sometimes the bursts of activity—early in June for example, just after commencement, or at the beginning of each semester—get truly frantic.  And the overall expansion of activities and responsibilities is pretty mind-boggling. OIT plays multiple roles, not the least of which is as a kind of mediator or translator between the academic and IT sides of the college. That may in fact be our most valuable role. It’s not what I set out to talk about right now, though. That’s a topic for another day.

Documenting this work, archiving it somehow, has clear value. Not all activities are easily documented, of course, but we want to display those which are. And yet documenting ongoing work in this way is very difficult to do. We’ve got our office web site, and that’s fine as far as it goes. Those old-school static pages are funneled through the IT web development shop on our campus. We give them the material, the content gets approved, and up it goes—eventually. Changes or updates to content have to follow the same protocol. It’s cumbersome, and we’re locked into their formatting.

Even if we had more flexible access to the BCC web site, frequently updating and documenting what we do would be difficult. There’s just no time for it given the pace at which we work. The Commons has provided an alternative.  The possibility here is this:  a venue for quick and nimble updating of our work, and (unlike the purely static web page) the possibility of readers who choose to join our community commenting, discussing, tagging, and linking. One contributer, Giulia Guarnieri, has already started through the podcasting pages she is building. Valerie Futch, BCC’s Instructional Technology Fellow, continues to put quality time into maintaining this blog and its associated pages. Look for more documentation soon, like this summary of a grant-funded project pursued by BCC’s Art and Music Department. With luck, and with some strategic prodding and lobbying, there will be more to come..


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