TLT provides two basic types of services to faculty at Bethel: consulting and direct design. The differences between the two are related to the level of responsibility each party has for the project in question.
When TLT is in a consulting relationship with a faculty member, TLT's direct responsibility for the project is relatively low. The faculty member is simply asking for advice on a topic related to an instructional project, and the TLT member is providing that advice. Also, the threshold for receiving service is relatively low. All the faculty member has to do in order to receive the service is to communicate with TLT using the walk-up-desk, email, or telephone. TLT workshops, just-in-time classroom technology assistance, and media development consulting also function as an extension of this consulting service.
On the other hand, direct design requires a higher level of responsibility on TLT's part for the project in question, as well as a higher threshold for the faculty member who will be receiving the service. When TLT is providing direct design services, TLT is usually producing a syllabus and course-site based on a detailed form provided by a subject matter expert. Faculty members do not typically make arrangements for these services independently; they are arranged through an agreement with faculty administration, which helps TLT manage its workload and determines the parameters for that particular project.
Normally, faculty members have two distinct but related roles in the course design process: subject matter expert (SME - brings necessary content to the course-design process) and instructional designer (develops the course process and ultimately ensures design quality). However, when a faculty member is working with TLT on a direct design project, the faculty member is functioning as an SME only, and a member of TLT functions as the instructional designer. Because the work is truly collaborative, and TLT is an equal partner in creating the instructional product with the SME, explicit agreements between the parties are required. These include timelines and standards for deliverables, which are jointly developed by TLT and faculty administration. While faculty do lose some direct control over the design project when using this service, and while this service may not be appropriate for all departments and/or programs, adherence to these standards enable academic programs to develop a highly coherent curriculum using multiple SME’s.
Other Services and Clarifications
Digital Media Services
TLT is able to help faculty and SME’s manage any digital media required to deploy a course, including print media, still photos/graphics, audio, and video. This management includes converting media from one format to another, minor editing, and providing storage space. In most cases, media creation (writing and editing documents, shooting pictures, recording audio or video, etc.) is the responsibility of the faculty member or SME.
Services Not Provided
In some higher education institutions, teams that resemble TLT will edit syllabi, create entire course-sites, and produce media for faculty simply to help with faculty workload. However, TLT has not been properly staffed to provide these sorts of secretarial or TA services for faculty, nor is this part of our intended institutional mission. TLT only builds syllabi, course sites, and other instructional products when able to enter into the process as a true design partner. However, TLT is always available to train TA’s or administrative assistants to enable them to be more helpful to faculty in these areas.
Distinction Between TLT and ITS Help Desk
TLT collaborates extensively with the ITS Help Desk, but each team has a different focus. While the ITS Help Desk is primarily focused on helping Bethel clients who are having trouble exercising basic computing privileges, TLT focuses on helping faculty and students integrate technology into their teaching and learning. While TLT’s help may occasionally involve helping clients with basic technological questions/issues, both teams strive to stay focused on their missions. So when clients visit the ITS Help Desk with questions about the application of technology to teaching and learning, Help Desk employees will typically direct them to TLT. And when clients visit TLT with technical issues that are generically keeping them from participating in Bethel’s computing environment, TLT employees will typically direct them to the ITS Help Desk. In both cases, the teams do their best to make sure that clients are handed off smoothly and well-served.