Guest Post by Bill De Wysockie, Academic Systems Manager at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary
It is just a little over two months to go before BbWorld 2011. That means a little over two months left to prepare for my presentation at a preconference workshop. I’m so glad that deep down in my heart I’m a pragmatist. According to Merriam-Webster (the online version, of course), pragmatism is “a practical approach to problems and affairs.” So, how am I a pragmatist?
In my way of thinking, the essence of pragmatism is getting the job done early. I learned this lesson in college after undergoing several traumatic all-nighters. At some point I must have muttered, “Enough is enough. I can’t go on like this.” For I gradually turned over the proverbial new leaf and started anticipating deadlines.
All this to say that I have over two months to go and I’ve already finished the first draft of my presentation plan and PowerPoint slides. Just to show you I’m not boasting, let me show you what is really motivating me.
Here is what I envision if I do not get all this done ahead of time:
- I show up with slides that confuse rather than clarify.
- I have my presentation half-memorized so I know I’m going to have to ‘wing it’ at several points.
- I’m so nervous that I can’t even remember the name of my school.
So you see (at least in my case) pragmatism does not need a sophisticated philosophy to undergird it. Abject fear serves well enough!
In this case, I have to confess that one other thing serves me besides pragmatism. It is the desire to communicate what we are doing to train faculty at Southwestern Seminary, in Fort Worth, TX. And, how the Certified Trainer Program has made a difference in that training. The program was not easy. I remember some late nights and a heart palpitation or two. But the net result was a much more solid foundation in the principles of training. We covered the basic skill set of the trainer, good teaching practices, and how to adapt our training to the varieties of adult learners. We looked at usability and accessibility issues, the need to analyze an audience, and – what I count as the most valuable lesson learned – the principles for developing a dynamic lesson plan.
So I guess when all is said and done, I have to admit that I’m not just a pragmatist. I’m also a genuine, dyed-in-the-wool enthusiast.
Join me during my PreCon session:
Blackboard Certified Trainers: New Approaches for Faculty Training
Sunday, July 10, 2011 from 1:30 – 4:00 pm
Blackboard has offered its Certified Trainer program for over eight years. In that time, more than five hundred individuals have completed the program. However, what impact has this had on faculty training at their institutions? In this workshop, four Blackboard certified trainers will describe the innovative approaches they use for faculty training and the impact their training has had on their institution.