I’m going to need a Blackboard tutor

I’ve seen multiple stories this spring on our country’s online teaching fiasco, but I have yet to see an account of what the pandemic did to trainings.

It’s not good.

In-person training is vastly superior to training-by-Zoom. At least, the training I experienced pre-pandemic was vastly superior to the online trainings I’m required to complete now.

With in-person training, I entered a physical classroom, was seated at a computer terminal, and spent the next two hours practicing the commands my trainer wanted me to learn. When I made a mistake, my trainer told me how to fix it, then I practiced that. Plus I had time to write myself a note explaining, for future reference, how I fixed it.

It was hands-on.

Distance training via Zoom is completely different.

With distance training, you log onto Zoom, your instructor shares her screen, and you watch, stupefied, as she spends the next two hours clicking links. 

Click, click, click.

Click, click.

Click, click, click, click.

The clickings are accompanied by a running narration invoking files and folders and the “grade book”… and which students can read and/or edit which comments in which threads and so on. So many features! So, so many. 

By one hour in, you have no idea what’s going on, and you still have a second hour to go. 

I’ve finished 3 of the eight Blackboard trainings I’m supposed to do, plus I need to sign up for a 2-hour training re Zoom.

Once that’s out of the way, I’ll have to start all over again teaching myself all the commands and functions I still won’t know after 16 hours of training.

I should add that it’s not the trainers’ fault. They’re doing the best they can with the only software they’ve got: Zoom, which isn’t a training program and can’t readily be made to serve as a training program–not software training, at any rate. SAT/ACT tutoring via Zoom actually works quite well.

But Blackboard training via Zoom isn’t cutting it.

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