The Tech Fellow program has been in existence since 2010. It is composed of students whose role is to assist faculty in the implementation of new technologies at Teachers College.
HOW THE TECH FELLOWS ARE SELECTED
Recommendations for candidates are accepted from departments. Our Tech Fellows are then selected via an interview process that involves a detailed questionnaire and a face-to-face meeting.
The criteria for the selection of Tech Fellows are based on technical abilities, knowledge of security policies, teaching or mentoring experience and familiarity with training content development. They must demonstrate openness to innovation, good interpersonal and communication skills, be team workers as well as self-directed learners, be problem solvers and have a flexible schedule. We give priority to candidates who respect deadlines, are reliable, proactive, take initiative, are not afraid of making mistakes, can resolve conflicts, accept criticism, and are able to cope with stress.
Each Tech Fellow is assigned to one department. All Tech Fellows serve as primary fellows in one department as well as backups for two other departments.
Our priority is to assign a Tech Fellow to the department in which he/she is enrolled, however, at times it may be necessary to change or reassign a Tech Fellow to a different department. In such an event, Academic Computing will consult with the department chair to consider options.
Should faculty wish to propose a different candidate for the Tech Fellow program, they are strongly encouraged to submit a request one month before the beginning of a new semester to allow for the interview process and the necessary training to take place.
THE ROLE OF THE TECH FELLOW
A critical responsibility of our Tech Fellows is to act as liaisons between faculty and Academic Computing. Their aim is to listen carefully to faculty needs and report back to the group, thus making recommendations on how our platforms can be configured to best meet the needs of both instructors and students.
The role of the Tech Fellow is to assist faculty with technology resources at TC (Moodle, Google Apps, Mahara, Alfresco, Adobe Connect, Second Life, Qualtrics, the SmartBoard) and provide suggestions and alternatives for their pedagogical choices. The format of their support varies according to faculty needs. It can be face-to-face, via web conferencing, through screen sharing, email or phone consultations. For diagnostic purposes our Tech Fellows can be manually enrolled in courses to assist and help without infringing the privacy of the students in the courses. Since they are responsible for working with a considerable number of faculty and courses, the Tech Fellows cannot assume the role of course assistants, (e.g. doing the actual work of grading papers or uploading assignments) nor will they be able to work as technicians (e.g. fix printers, request cables, install software etc. ) They will however be able to redirect the support request to the appropriate department.
Upon request, our Tech Fellows can give workshops to students in a course to demonstrate how the various tools can be used effectively. Our Tech Fellows also run faculty orientation sessions produce online and off-line help documentation, maintain websites and twitter postings and present best practices at various events.
HOW THE TECH FELLOWS ARE TRAINED
Training for Tech Fellows is an ongoing process that requires continuous active involvement. The model for their training is based on constructive, collaborative, self–directed learning. Our Tech Fellows experiment with new tools and collaborate with their peers. They participate in regular meetings both face-to-face and remotely. These meetings occur every week for two hours. The Tech Fellows are in charge of the meetings, maintain agendas, make presentations and self-assess their progress. Each week a Tech Fellow presents a topic and is assessed by his/her peers. Experienced Tech Fellows are paired with new Tech Fellows and are responsible for their training. They share their learning experiences and make sure that their peers familiarize themselves with the topics covered in the previous training sessions.
Teachers College, Columbia University.