Technology coaching--a role Community Education put into place after switching to online learning--is one of Marilyn Lydic's most rewarding and challenging positions of her 21-year career. Primarily an English as a Second Language (ESL) instructor, Marilyn was tapped to assist students as they acclimated to a new way of learning.
As student advisors and teachers talked and worked with new students, they quickly discovered that students faced many challenges with technology, from turning on a device and keyboarding skills to accessing Schoology (a learning management system) and checking their IU13 student email account. IU13 Community Education lent 125 Chromebooks to students with no technology at home, and the majority of those recipients needed assistance with using this new device.
Marilyn created how-to videos and written instructions for both students and teachers and began meeting 1:1 with students via Zoom. These interactions have been highly rewarding for Marilyn: "All of the students have been so grateful. It's wonderful to be able to see them accomplish basic things. It gives them confidence that they will be able to do this."
Marilyn experienced similar frustrations to those of current students when she took her first online course 13 years ago. She recalls, "I did not know how to upload, download, or how to use Word, and my professor was so patient with me. As a result, I came to enjoy online learning and went on to earn a Master's degree in Instructional Technology. I saw the professor a couple of years after I graduated and I told him, 'had it not been for you and your patience, I would not be doing what I am doing today.'"
Because Marilyn recognizes the long-range impact of her coaching, she is not stumped by challenges. If a technology problem is new to her, she researches it and figures it out. She knows students are committed to learning and she is committed to them.