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Podcast: Technology Conversations

Welcome to Technology Conversations, brought to you by the IT Training team, Center for Instructional Technology and Training (CITT). Here you will hear conversations from IT experts in different fields as well as discussions on how technology plays a key role in individuals’ personal and professional lives.

Episode 5: CITT Instructional Design

In this episode, Rodney Gammons, Assistant Director for Instructional Design with Center for Instructional Technology and Training (CITT)  explains how his team of instructional designers help faculty and staff with their course development. He also shares available resources and how we can reach out for help.  

View Podcast Transcript

Anchalee Phataralaoha: Welcome to our podcast Technology Conversations where we discuss technology related topics from how to find resources for your technology needs to how technology can impact our lives. My name is Anchalee Phataralaoha and I will be your host. Today we have a pleasure to talk to Rodney Gammons, Assistant Director for Instructional Design with CITT or Center for Instructional Technology and Training. Hello, Rodney how are you?

Rodney Gammons: I am doing well today Anchalee, how are you?

Anchalee Phataralaoha: Very good. Now to get started, could you share with us about your background and essentially your journey to UF?

Rodney Gammons: Well, it’s a pretty long journey, I won’t go too far back but before coming to CITT I was an academic advisor for the instructional technology department at Santa Fe College and I was also an adjunct professor. During that time, I got my degree in instructional technology, to be specific curriculum instruction with a concentration on instructional technology, educational technology, and design. So after getting my degree and working for a few years as an adjunct faculty member and academic advisor, I applied for a job here and I finally got it, and I became an instructional designer and a few years later I am now the Assistant Director for the Instructional Design team.

Anchalee Phataralaoha: It sounds like you have a lot of background in teaching and learning.

Rodney Gammons: Yeah, I do, I definitely do and academic advising which played a key role into some of the things I did with the CITT.

Anchalee Phataralaoha: So now you know with your current position, essentially what do you do?

Rodney Gammons: Well, yeah with my current position now as the Assistant Director I manage a team of instructional designers. Some of the biggest things I do is working on initiatives like outreach initiatives and just making sure people know about our services as well as you know managing the team doing the day to day things like approving time, making sure people are on schedule with their developments, introducing clients to our services, and pairing them with our ID. Things like that, so there are a few things that I do on campus where I work with other departments and make sure we collaborate. Like for the Center for Teaching Excellence, I do a lot of collaborations with them, UF online, and other instructional design units across campus and with people within our own department of Academic Technology in the CITT as I am sitting here with you, we are a part of the same team I would say, you’re with training and I’m with the ID team but we are collaborating right now.

Anchalee Phataralaoha: Exactly. So how many instructional designers do you have on your team?

Rodney Gammons: Overall I would say 12 and then we add in the student workers we can bump it up to 21. There are 9 student workers so overall there are 12 people that work on the instructional design team.

Anchalee Phataralaoha: So it sounds like you did shift from teaching to instructional design and with that what do you find is the most challenging in your position?

Rodney Gammons: Faculty members have a lot of strain being placed on them, they have a lot of deadlines they have to meet, a lot of them do research, here at UF my understanding the demands of grading, meeting with students, but couple that with the research, it’s just a lot so I have an understanding of what they go through. I think the most challenging thing is just finding time that works for the faculty members to meet their demands and making sure that they can do what they need to do and not feel like we are piling more on them. And what they do directly affects student engagement and student success and that’s what we are all here for to make sure students get where they need to get to in life and we are a part of doing that. We try to help faculty members to do their part the best way they can.

Anchalee Phataralaoha: So, it sounds like you provide a lot of support for the faculty. And with that what kind of service do you provide for them?

Rodney Gammons: The biggest thing that we provide is course development services. We help faculty members build their courses and perfect their courses whether that be online, in person, or hybrid whatever it may be. So they can come to us and we can provide them with a sixteen week or fifteen week course development, we can do partial development, we can just do consultations if they just want us to help improve the accessibility of a course. We also provide some workshops and trainings as well that are more corelated to teaching and learning and making sure the course is more pedagogically sound. If anyone is interested, they can just reach out to us and we will try to cater and make a, I would like to say a meal plan for them that will fit their diet and what they’re trying to accomplish.

Anchalee Phataralaoha: So, does it mean any faculty from any colleges can reach out to you?

Rodney Gammons: Pretty much anyone can reach out to us for the free service. We are centrally funded so all the services that we provide are free of charge for anyone that wants to come and sit down and talk with us and we just go from there once we figure out what needs to be done, we come up with a schedule with you, a schedule that’s flexible for you, one that will fit your needs.

Anchalee Phataralaoha: Any particular time they should reach out to you?

Rodney Gammons: As soon as possible. Preferably a semester before you want to launch a course or whenever you need to but sometimes, we’ll take them right then and there if it’s something urgent if we can fit into our schedule, we will make sure to help the faculty member in some way. We may not be able to build a full course in a week, but if you come to us, we’ll talk you through some things and see where we can help and at the very least provide a consultation for you and set you up on the right way to get you started.

Anchalee Phataralaoha: So, how does it work? Would you assign a faculty member to a particular instructional designer?

Rodney Gammons: Yeah, we will assign them to a particular instructional designer. Depending on the schedule of that instructional designer we will assign to them and also if the faculty member or staff member wants a particular instructional designer to work with them if they worked with them in the past, we try to make that happen as well.

Anchalee Phataralaoha: With that how do people reach out to you?

Rodney Gammons: Oh, that’s pretty easy if you go to our website, you can go to the About area and you will see all the information for the instructional design team. Also if you go to the Request Assistance button, if you click that button even if you don’t know what you need help with, just fill it out and someone will respond to you within 24-48 hours.

Anchalee Phataralaoha: Alright sounds good, now any word of advice or recommendations for the faculty?

Rodney Gammons: Yeah, I would say to faculty members and staff, you have a wealth of free resources here at the University of Florida, CITT is one of them. We do have the instructional design team which I lead, you have the Training team, the Learning Analytics team, our studio team that we work hand in hand with, and our Educational Technology team. So, there are a lot of free services for you all at this top 5 university that they try to provide so I would just say use them at your disposal, we all try to pride ourselves on great customer support service so just come see us and we will help you on your way.

Anchalee Phataralaoha: Thank you very much Rodney, for spending some time with us today.

Rodney Gammons: You’re welcome. You have a good one.

Anchalee Phataralaoha: You too. That’s it everyone and we will see you next time for topics of interest in IT.

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