You purchase a new technology product based on the great potential it has, but all the while you know that the power for ensuring that potential pays off is in the hands of the people on the ground expected to use it. Technology can do so much for education, but only after the people tasked with using it – your faculty and students – get past the hurdle of learning how it works and start to get comfortable with it.
Achieving successful onboarding of a new education technology is a challenge many institutions of higher education struggle with. With the pace that technology develops and new options come onto the market, it can start to feel like a constant struggle – and one that leaves faculty often feeling like they bear the brunt of it.
So much of the eventual success of technology implementation depends on how you introduce it. An effective onboarding process can ensure the product you purchased actually gets used and provides the benefits it promises.
Here are some tips from schools that have pulled the tricky onboarding process off with success.
Working with Faculty for Successful Implementation
Your faculty is easily one of the most important components in the success of implementing a new educational technology in your school or program. As such, many of our clients have made bringing faculty on board a top priority in their onboarding process. Here are some of their stories.
You don’t want to just hand your faculty a new technology and hope they’ll dive right in. This webinar with Ashley Castleberry from the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences College of Pharmacy covers the process they successfully used in their program to teach professors how to use Examsoft and get them comfortable with the new technology.
In order to ensure the transition to computer-based testing was natural and effective at The University of Pikeville Kentucky College of Osteopathic Medicine, they started by giving faculty the chance to test out the technology as though they were students to get a feel for it. They followed that up with a soft launch to give them the chance to address any issues before rolling out the testing technology for the entire program. Check out their case study for more details on their onboarding experience.
Blog Post: Implementation and Faculty Onboarding: A Success Story
Lisa Nelson from Loma Linda University School of Dentistry writes about their experience implementing Examsoft with the help of focused staff members tasked with teaching faculty members and other support staff the software. They created educational materials to help answer questions that faculty and students might have to forego potential issues before they could come up. After initial training and a brief pilot program, faculty was on board with using the new exam software in their classes.
Dr. Kyumin Whang from the University of Texas Health Science Center San Antonio provides the rundown of resources they provided to faculty in their school to help them learn and embrace Examsoft. By offering instructional webinars and other dedicated support resources, they helped their faculty learn both the software’s benefits and how to use it.
Getting Students On Board with a New Technology
Faculty should be your first concern, but ensuring that your students are comfortable with a new educational technology is just as important. These resources offer insights into helping students make the transition to computer-based testing.
People often think of the young generation of students as being quick to embrace any technology, but contrary to the common perception, some students express a preference for taking exams by hand. To ensure that students were also comfortable with the transition to computer-based testing at The George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences, the school set up a series of mock and pilot quizzes that gave students a chance to become familiar with the exam software while the stakes were low, and communicate any concerns they had before it became a regular part of their classes. Using this method, they found their students very quick to come around to using Examsoft for their testing.
This blog posts spells out some of the tips and lessons that George Washington University learned in working with students directly in their implementation of Examsoft. If you want a quicker takeaway of the lessons shared in the webinar above, give this post a look.
Overall Onboarding and Implementation Strategies
Successful implementation isn’t just about getting buy-in from the faculty and students. Usually it involves making sure you have the right technology infrastructure in place to ensure everything works smoothly and making sure your support staff are adequately prepared to solve any issues that might arise.
Put on by Brad Marcum from The University of Pikeville Kentucky College of Osteopathic Medicine, this webinar tackles some of the challenges particular to smaller colleges working to bring a new education technology into the classroom. Amongst the tips suggested are talking to other schools using the technology to gain a clear picture of the IT needs involved and researching the reputation of the company selling the product to ensure they offer adequate support. For the full list of suggested strategies, watch the webinar.
Michelle Cruz from the Oregon Health and Sciences University discusses tips for a developing a well-planned implementation process and seeing it through to execution. You want to plan out a timeline, identify the people who will need to be involved in the implementation process, and make sure that all the materials and structure needed to successfully launch computer-based testing are in place. This webinar covers everything they did to keep the process smooth.
This webinar tackles many of the same issues of others in this list: addressing early concerns, planning out the process of implementation, and making sure faculty and students are comfortable with the change. It also addresses what Queen’s University Faculty of Health Sciences School of Medicine is doing to provide continued support for the technology in their program.
Many of these resources focus on taking a slow and steady approach that gives everyone time to get used to the technology. If you need to get going faster with a new technology at your school, this blog post is for you. Bergen High School managed to get set up with Examsoft and had everyone comfortable with the new exam software within three months.
The Examsoft staff has seen and helped with the implementation process at a number of different schools and programs. Even so, we know every situation is a little different. We can talk you through any issues or questions you may have that are particular to your school’s situation and needs. Just get in touch.