Thirteen faculty members practiced taking their best "selfies" during an exercise intended to teach the use of the front-facing camera on the iPad during an OIT workshop at the Commons in Hodges Library last Thursday.
The session, titled "How to use your iPad," was designed to help interested professors become more confident in using their iPads. Christina Goode, an IT specialist and development and training instructor, said that many professors are interested in the latest technology but struggle to find the time to learn how to use it.
"Carving out the time to make sure that (they) have that particular device or technique down pat so that it will flow smoothly in classrooms (can be a challenge)," Goode said. "(Faculty) really are interested in how they can better classes, it's just maybe more of a time commitment for some faculty ... especially if they have a heavy course load."
Thursday was the eighth introductory iPad class offered by OIT. It served as the precursor to the workshop, "Mobile Technologies in the Classroom," where professors learned about integrating technology in their classes.
As Jonathan Jackson, the Student Government Association senate liaison on the Technology Services Committee and a sophomore in computer science, said he believes that iPads and other technologies have great potential in the classroom.
"iPads, could, and somewhat already do, have the capacity to expand the possibilities they offer for educational uses," Jackson said. "With the Blackboard App, everyone can have easy access to everything they can find on the online version of Blackboard. Textbooks are slowly becoming available for mobile devices and could help reduce the cost of hardback books. With support from OIT, classroom instruction could be enhanced with tablets."
Goode, who led the workshop last Thursday, emphasized that many faculty members take advantage of workshops offered by OIT in order to learn about new technologies.
"We have a lot of workshops (for faculty) to go with ... online at UT software and also Blackboard Collaborate and ... how to use the smart classroom and also why you would use it," Goode said. "Then the research computing source group (has) a suite of workshops on different research software that's offered here ... there are online offerings too."
OIT offers workshops and classes for students in addition to the faculty-focused classes.
Jackson also emphasized that taking advantage of training from OIT can give students an advantage in their careers.
"By being experienced in Microsoft Office products, students will have a step up from job candidates who have not had much experience with these heavily used products," he said.
A full schedule of workshops and training offered by OIT can be accessed online at oit.utk.edu/training.