A commercial webinar on teaching – do we want this? – Trevor Holmes

Normally, I’d be loathe to flog a business solution to a pedagogical problem that can be solved easily in-house. However, I noticed in my email inbox (I belong to too many listservs!) a freebie from a company that specializes in higher ed “webinars” — ugly word, I know — this one has some time-saving tips about uses of regular everyday technology and higher-octane stuff. What intrigues me about it is that it promises some quotidian shortcuts and secrets that most of us simply don’t know. If these tips make my teaching life easier (I just started with 177 students down at That Other University on Fridays) — heck, they’re worth it. Consider my own favourite ‘doh moment — the day I learned that I can press B for a black screen in Powerpoint or W for a white screen — to this day, grad students and faculty in workshops oooh and aaaah over the trick. Sometimes we are, I think, too embarrassed to ask about user shortcuts because we assume we’re the only ones on the planet who don’t know about them! So maybe I’ll sign up for this webinar, and get some tips we won’t be doing in workshops at U Waterloo, either in the Centre for Teaching Excellence or in IST. My question is, would you find it offensive to receive ads for this sort of private company (with well-respected facilitators) in our monthly emails?

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As Senior Instructional Developer, Curriculum and Programming, Trevor Holmes plans and delivers workshops and events in support of faculty across the career span. Prior to joining the Centre for Teaching Excellence, Trevor worked at a variety of universities teaching courses, supporting faculty and teaching assistants through educational development offices, and advising undergraduates. Trevor’s PhD is from York University in English Literature, with a focus on gothic literature, queer theory, and goth identities. A popular workshop facilitator at the national and international levels, Trevor is also interested in questions of identity in teaching and teaching development.

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