Principal Instructional Technologist
Maggie Ricci is a Principal Instructional Technologist at UITS’ eLearning and Design Services, and the 2018 recipient of the CEWiT Outstanding Staff Mentor Award.
Although, in the past, Ricci has not been very active with CEWiT, this year she presented at one of the break-out sessions, discussing some of the many tools that are available to faculty in their course development. Testing, implementing and refining these online tools is what Ricci’s department and job mainly consists of.
“We were created at a time when IU online unit was hitting the streets, so we needed a shop to help faculty create online courses and we needed web developers and designers to make that happen,” said Ricci. So, she and her team run pilots on new tools like Top Hat, a student response system, to Turnitin, which checks for plagiarism, and then implement them into Canvas. She’s done this for about five years. Before that, she did a similar job at IU’s Center for Innovative Tech and Learning.
According to Ricci, IU offers an “absurdly large amount of stuff” to make professors’ jobs easier. However, a lot of them go unnoticed by faculty because they just don’t know about them.
“We are doing a bad job at communicating to faculty and showing them what is available,” said Ricci. However, her department is developing a tool to help them figure out what useful tools are available to them on Canvas. “We are working diligently to make it easier and show people what we have.”
Ricci also helps professors design their online courses. This is where she’s been involved most as a mentor.
“Because of my role in helping so many instructors with their courses, I am almost never a leader, I tend to dip in and out of a whole bunch of courses,” explained Ricci. “People have learned that they need a person to answer questions so they say ‘let’s get Maggie in here to ask questions.’ I’m not afraid to play dumb and ask an instructor for a specific explanation. Sometimes it helps to be able to pull them out of the weeds because it gives them perspective on their course.”
Overall, Ricci says her favorite part of the job is these people she gets to mentor and interact with every day. She also likes having the opportunity to delve into the unknown.
“I like figuring stuff out that we don’t already know how to do,” said Ricci. “If we already know how to do it, I don’t want to know about it. I want to figure out the stuff we don’t know about yet.”