Positively Influencing

I have spent the last few months developing an innovation plan to help enhance my students’ overall experience at LIT and increase their odds of landing a lifelong career upon graduation by documenting their learning experiences through an                   e-portfolio. VIsionWhile I strongly believe this project will help my students become successful employees in a timely manner upon graduation, and help LIT keep their job placement ratings at a superior level, I also understand this plan will not be implemented in a resistance free environment. I am fully aware that I will encounter trials, obstacles, and “negative nay-sayers”, but I am ready and willing to face these challenges, and turn them into opportunities.

Kotter (2013) tells us that the first step in creating effective change is to get urgency up and complacency down. When we become comfortable in our surroundings, complacent in our environment, and we feel that everything is working just fine, we do not feel the need to adjust anything; we do not want to change! When we acknowledge that there are issues with our current situations and spark the sense of urgency to make the changes needed to create improvements for our students, we open the doors for successful change within our organization!

In order to create authentic, long-term change, we must mold positive, desired behaviors. To convince people to perform behaviors out of the ordinary, we must first make them believe what we believe- feel what we feel- and want the outcomes that we want. We need hand writing leadershipto do more than persuade them; we need to influence   them! In order to achieve these things, we can’t just talk to people about changing their ways. Often times, talking about changing a person is perceived negatively, and can ultimately set our change efforts up for failure! If we focus on setting up positive influences, we can reach people without blatantly coming out and saying, “I’m sorry, but you are wrong and need to change!” Using Grenny’s six sources of influence to help guide us in our successful change effort, we can impact people in ways we never could have previously imagined.

Desired Results:

To have all instrumentation instructors at LIT implementing e-portfolios in their classrooms to help students document their learning experiences.

Vital Behaviors:

  • Create a department blog where all Instrumentation Instructors will share lessons learned and current activities.
    • I will create the platform for the department blog and provide access to each instructor. This will be a place where we can showcase what we have going on inside the classroom as well as through extracurricular activities and recruiting opportunities.
    • Instructors will also be encouraged to post any potential job/co-op/intern opportunities that become available to our students, as well as any new techniques, ideas, or tools they discover that could possibly be helpful to other instructors.
  • Utilize technology (department blog) at department meetings instead of paper agenda and handouts.
    • Meeting agenda will be posted on the blog beforehand, along with any handouts that pertain to topics covered.
    • Key findings from the department blog will be summarized at each department meeting.
  • Have instructors create their own, personal e-portfolios, and encourage them to be active bloggers.
    • Once instructors are familiar and comfortable with posting on the department blog, assist them in creating a personal blog where they can get course specific with their own information.
  • Administration should include “Technology Usage” in the Faculty Evaluations for end of the year performance review.
    • LIT has recently implemented a mandatory Blackboard policy, and rebutted the resistance to this with statements like, “We are a technology school, we need to use technology”- This could be an extra incentive for instructors to show administration we are striving to be better employees.
  • Identify and evaluate why we chose to be educators in the industrial field.
    • Helping students start a lifelong career should be somewhere near the top of this list.
    • Make connections of how e-portfolios can help our students demonstrate their learning experiences and ultimately increase their chances of getting a job after graduation.

Measure Progress:

  • Key points from the department blog will be discussed at department meetings.
  • Technology Usage will be included in the end of year performance review.
  • Instructors will share their personal e-portfolio sites with other faculty members for peer-to-peer review, critique, feedback, and ideas.
  • Teachers will create technology rich projects that incorporate course objectives as well as enhance 21st century skills.

Organizational Influencers:

  • Myself: Chelsea Hoke
  • Program Director: Weldon Jacobs
  • Department Chair: Pat O’Connor
  • LIT Instrumentation Faculty: Edgar Neely, Steve Champagne, Minus Hargrave, Michael Sedeurick, and Patrick Culp
  • IT Administrator: Sam Dockens

6 Sources of Influence 

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Included below are are a few areas I used to help me identify the vital behaviors I previously mentioned that will help me achieve my desired result.

Notice the Obvious:

  • All LIT instructors have access to technology labs, computers, and equipment; we need to help ensure they have motivation and drive to use it.
  • Some instructors are inexperienced with technology and feel uncomfortable using it in the classroom; therefore, all instructors must be provided training for any technology equipment they are unfamiliar with.
  • Some teachers are not willing to mentor other teachers, while others are not receptive to training from other teachers. All instructors should feel supported by their peers, and welcome constructive criticism, helpful feedback, and friendly advice from colleagues.

Crucial Moments:

  • Many teachers are unaware of the various ways to utilize technology within the classroom; by the time they figure these out, things have changed. We can overcome this by a department wide collaborative group where we share best practices, lessons learned, and success stories with other faculty members.
  • Often times, instructors do not have the time or opportunities to help each other, or ask for help within the whirlwind of their daily routine.
  • Campus IT departments need to be readily on hand the first few weeks of e-portfolio

Positive Deviants:

  • Some instructors incorporate technology in ways that naturally help students succeed and achieve higher-level thinking; we want all LIT instructors to be comfortable performing on this level.
  • A best-practices or shared-learnings program will be implemented to share ideas from our extremely creative, tech-savvy instructors who are more advanced classroom technology users.

Culture Busters:

  • Some instructors see integrating technology in their coursework as unnecessary for success within their classroom.
  • Many instructors see implementing e-portfolios, or any other technology platform, as an extra-step or added work that they are not required to do; therefore, it is seen as useless.

References:

Grenny, J., Patterson, K., Maxfield, D., McMillan, R., & Switzler, A. (2013). Influencer: The new science of leading change: 2nd ed. New York: McGraw-Hill Education.

Kotter, J. (2013, August 15). Leading Change: Establish a Sense of Urgency. Retrieved October 06, 2016, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Yfrj2Y9IlI

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