Every course is different, so in many cases, instructors are the best at deciding whether an edtech tool is a good fit for their class. We've found that if we provide faculty enough information on how each tool can impact their classroom, they enthusiastically look through the tools and find LTIs that can really improve their course.
One of the biggest benefits of this autonomous process is that instructors are often more invested in their edtech and work harder to integrate the technology into their curriculum. That said, we know that if certain tools are used incorrectly or in the wrong circumstances, they can negatively impact students. That’s why we use a selectively self-service approach: our App Store locks down certain tools, so instructors must complete trainings or meet with course designers before installing those tools.
Our current reality is high-stakes and fast-paced. No matter how much we prepare, new and unexpected challenges seem to pop up overnight, forcing us to ask ourselves tough questions:
- Do our technologists have enough bandwidth to outfit classes with the proper edtech when the ground shifts? For instance, what if tomorrow morning, the school decided to switch from in-person classes to fully online classes?
- With the many security holes in the LTI install process, are we prepared to deal with security challenges during already-busy semesters?
- During the COVID-19 era, which support teams are becoming bottlenecks to setting up and running classes? Are there ways to make processes more self-service and autonomous to ease the burden on support teams?
When you join my session, "How Our LTI App Store Made the COVID Online Transition a Snap," you'll learn about how COVID-19 turned Harvard classes upside down as we transitioned 550 courses from in person to fully online, how our App Store solved the massive task of quickly outfitting those 550 classes with relevant edtech, and how you can use the App Store at your school too!
As a regular attendee of InstructureCon, I'm sure I share others’ feelings when I say I’m sad that we cannot meet in person and enjoy Instructure’s incredible themed events, catered socials, and interactive sessions. That said, if anyone can put together a fun, engaging, and exciting virtual conference, that's Instructure. The reason I’m looking forward to attending CanvasCon is the same reason I’m looking forward to presenting at CanvasCon: I’m thrilled for the opportunity to meet other passionate educators who create and use edtech to improve classes in this challenging time.