|Jack of All Trades, CC BY flickr photo by peacay|
I've been thinking for a while about the role of the LT, and how my own skill set and knowledge base have developed over the 10 years or so that I've worked in HE. And whilst I completely understand Martin Weller's problem of having an elevator pitch for what it is we actually do, I think this post will muddy the waters even further :-)
The role of the learning technologist comes in all shapes and sizes. The job title tends to vary quite a lot, as can the pay scales and the specific work we tend to get involved in. Learning technologists can be employed for specific purposes e.g. working on an OER project, an ePortfolio implementation project, or perhaps even staff development. From what I've seen, these more specific roles tend to be on fixed term contracts, whereas the permanent roles tend to be the broader roles (but of course there may be exceptions).
So what do we do?
Well in my experience, the learning technologist tend to be a central figure in many developments - the lynchpin or the quarterback (depending on your metaphorical preference). When I work with course teams in developing curricula, I'm the one who is linking in with the different departments, encouraging involvement from library colleagues or media development specialists.
I also tend to think of myself as a jack of all trades (but in a positive way, obviously). Without this attempting to be a CV, I think I have quite a good and knowledge of current and emerging aspects of HE in respect to technology enhanced learning. I've had experience in OER projects, institutional change projects, redeveloping assessment & feedback processes in faculty, managed and administrated VLEs, developed and delivered staff development programmes, developed and facilitated online courses (traditional and open), engaged in primary research (individually and collaboratively), published, so on and so forth. I'm not somehow special that I've done these things. These are typical tasks that learning technologists do every day. We know about stuff because that's what we do. We find a balance between trying to innovate with new things alongside evidence-based practice.
So don't be thinking 'Jack of all trades, master of none' is either a bad thing, or even necessarily true!
[edit - David Hopkins has extended this discussion with another thought provoking post - head over to read more]
The Reed Diaries by Peter Reed is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License