Saturday, August 29, 2009

Getting Ready for Class

I hadn't quite recovered from the post Performance Review funk using Success Factors in at the office when an email query arrived from SDSU asking if I'd consider co-teaching EdTec 685 at SDSU with Karen Boyle of LearningGurus this fall. So not everyone hated me, but then again, I hadn't given everyone a '3' out of '5' on communication skills when they thought they deserved a '5'. What part of "required to attend and participate in meetings" hadn't they understood? But I digress.

Karen and I had interacted 'virtually' in the past only on an e-Learning project and I had never seen the syllabus. EDTEC 685 Seminar in Information & Instructional Technologies for Org's didn't exist 20 years ago. But for bragging rights and the hopes of not having to sell clothes on eBay for Holiday gifts, I replied, "count me in". And the files began to roll.

Those little Green Flags in Outlook saved the day by allowing me to tag incoming SDSU emails on everything from Blackboard logins to Wimba instructions, 2008 archived recordings and requests for my Red ID. Draft syllabus from Allison! GoogleDocs shared by Karen! Attachments from Marcie! There in my inbox, neatly organized, the course details awaited my attention.

Now it's a week before class.

Thanks to years of live synchronous corporate training, the interface tools were the least of my worries. And God Bless the prior instructors, professor emeritus Dr. Allison Rossett and Dr. Rebecca Frazee for uploading a bevy of resources: over 30 PowerPoint Decks; over 50 articles and links.

Course assignments, instructions, web pages, illustrations all needed to be read and tailored for 2009. The content area, Performance Technology (PT) is changing so fast even Wikipedia can't keep up. The best description I've seen so far is that PT is a cobbled together approach to systematically improving individual and human performance in organizations. Resources are drawn from multiple and diverse disciplines such as HR, Training, Industrial Psychology, Organizational Development, Knowledge Management, Strategic Planning, Information Technology, Reengineering and Social Media.

So we worked until 2 a.m. last night. I did anyhow, since Karen is on Pacific Time. We slogged through critical tasks to ensure we could open the course site on Blackboard, and we laughed. Through the headset I could hear her cat whining and her keyboard clicking. My dogs barked in the background and we each fell 'out' of our Wimba session at least once. We reviewed documents online, made snarky comments about formatting issues (who doesn't know how to use PPT bullets?) and laughed about shared examples we might use (drinking games on #lrnchat?) and guest speakers we hoped to sign up for class.

So we're ready now. Mostly ready. And we'll update and refresh content as we move through this semester. Wish us luck.

p.s. If you're still interested in those clothes on eBay, let me know and I'll list 'em.