Workshop Zero Student TrainingIt is critical that there is training for students who will be participating in the online workshops before their first cPLTL workshop. Too much time may be lost during the first cPLTL workshop if students have not had prior training in the online environment with the new tools they will use.
Students first meet in-person to learn about the PLTL model, get to know each other, and get an overview of the technologies used in cPLTL. During this initial meeting, students meet with their Peer Leader and the other students who will be a part of their online workshop group. This is an opportunity for students to ask questions and discuss the procedures that will be followed in the online workshops.
During this face-to-face session, the students and their peer leader decide on a day and time that works for everyone to participate in Workshop Zero, which needs to take place before the first “official” workshop session occurs.
On the designated day and time that the group has agreed to meet for Workshop Zero, students meet online to learn how to actually use the technologies. Instructional technology specialists, course instructors, and peer leaders help students with technology configurations and troubleshooting when necessary. This session is designed to make students more at ease with the technology so that it is not a barrier in learning the material. It frequently includes activities designed to “break the ice” among students and help them start the cPLTL experience smoothly.
During this initial online session, each student is asked to activate their webcams, microphones, and their document cameras and show that all are working. The Peer Leader practices with the students by having them test their document cameras, web cameras, headsets, and microphones. If a student experiences any problems, the Peer Leader or a technology specialist will work with them to troubleshoot and identify solutions for any issue they have. These issues are typically minor and usually resolved during this practice session. If issues appear to stem from a student’s computer or document camera, they may need to be resolved in-person.
Thanks to the implementation of Workshop Zero, technology issues are dramatically decreased which allows the first official workshop to focus on content instead of managing technology issues.