Power Users and the CTL


One common way faculty learn how to teach is through interactions with colleagues. However, this practice can result in the sharing of ineffective ideas or teaching strategies. This study introduces the term “filtered informal learning,” which refers to the informal sharing of best practices filtered through an authoritative source such as a campus Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL). This study examines how “power users”—faculty who are familiar with, implement, and share best practices learned through formal CTL events—facilitated filtered informal learning during the emergency transition to online learning (ETOL) that accompanied the COVID-19 pandemic in March of 2020. While this study takes place in a very unusual setting (in the midst of a pandemic), it offers a glimpse into how faculty and CTL staff may prepare for future challenges. CTL staff who worked with power users were significantly more likely to report an increase in workload relative to CTL staff who did not work with power users. However, CTL staff who worked with power users were significantly more likely to indicate that they were able to offer the same quality of service after the ETOL as they did before the ETOL. Open-ended interview questions given after the initial survey show that while power users are familiar with instructional technology, they are relatively less familiar with best practices and campus and federal guidelines for online learning. Regular meetings between CTL staff and power users can help familiarize power users with best practices and campus/federal guidelines.