Online tutorials versus instructor-led training - the battle rages on, and we were curious. With "google" becoming a verb, many computer users are comfortable seeking the answers to their technical questions online. Plus, with the 20-year anniversary of the Microsoft Office Suite looming, were there really that many people who wished to be guided through those applications? Was there still a place for instructor-led training within the Queen's community, or had we reached the saturation point for that teaching and learning format?
With those questions in mind, in December of 2007, ITServices randomly surveyed 100 workshop participants from the previous five years and learned that instructor-led training is still alive, well and valued at Queen's, with one respondent remarking that "we have been very well served by ITServices workshops over the past 5 years." The questions were formulated in an effort to evaluate both the usefulness of the workshops as well as their perceived importance to the University. Participants felt that the workshops were most useful in helping them to learn a new skill and to perform their jobs, with comments indicating that the skills learned "showed me the Queen's way of handling certain IT issues," were "very helpful when taught by Queen's versus outside people," and "allowed me to meet others on campus." In terms of the workshops' significance to Queen's, the greatest importance was placed on the workshops "enabling faculty and staff to learn new technologies." As one participant noted, "we are a university, [and] we should encourage learning at all levels."
ITServices offers a variety of instructor-led workshops to all faculty and staff at Queen's University, many of which are free of charge. The workshops cover a range of topics, from general areas like Safe & Effective Computing, to some of the more popular Microsoft Office Suite applications such as Word, Excel and PowerPoint, to Queen's-specific applications such as WebPublish and the Queen's Wiki. Workshops are offered throughout the year, including May and June - an ideal time for many to take on new challenges, once the pressures of the academic year have eased.
In an effort to build upon the workshop services already being offered, ITServices is introducing the Computer Users' Passport @ Queen's (CUP@Q) in the fall of 2008. Having a Passport will become a prerequisite for participating in ITServices workshops in the future. It was developed in response to a recognized need by instructors, participants and administrators for a consistent level of basic computing skills in users across campus. The CUP@Q will not only meet the demand for basic computer training on campus and streamline the process of teaching and learning in workshops, it will also increase participants' confidence in their ability to use a computer effectively and it will improve their competency and productivity at work - a win-win situation for everyone!
The CUP@Q is awarded when users have completed all of the required modules which cover a host of basic computing skills, from File Management to Using the Web Effectively. Many computer users on campus may be proficient enough to successfully acquire their Passport without any additional training. However, if they are unable to fulfil the requirements of any of the modules, further instruction will be offered by way of online tutorials and/or one-hour, instructor-led workshops for each module. And best of all - no mug shots are required to get your CUP@Q!
For a complete list of the ITServices Workshops being offered in Spring 2008, or to view the full ITServices Workshop Survey results, please visit: www.its.queensu.ca/educate/current_workshops.html.