TLC – Behind the Scenes of a “Host”
The Teaching and Learning Conference (TLC) at Ashford University is planned year-round. Just as one TLC concludes, evaluations collected, feedback synthesized… the theme, calendar, and agenda are being set for the next. It is a tremendous undertaking that brings together thought leaders from AU faculty, staff and students, and those industry leaders and thinkers from the academic community as a whole.
Joining the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CETL) team at AU just over a year ago, I was tasked with the role of hosting TLC sessions throughout the three-day conference. I quickly learned this was a “hurry up and wait” role. We plan, set, and practice our sessions with the respective presenters, and wait for the day. It is the reality that our presenters spend months and years developing their content, and that our little role could make or break the 30 minute experience… that adds some stress (need I say panic) to the job.
Here are some of the panic-induced worries that have entered my mind at any given time during my host role:
Am I in the correct meeting room?
How do I pronounce their name?
I have two degrees… how many times will I mispronounce (insert long academic term here…)
Did I hit record?
Are we on time?
How do I block screens again?
Where is that sound coming from?
Oh dear… I thought I hit record!
The sound cut out! Is that my system or theirs?
Who is manning the chat?
Can they see me?
Whose dog is barking?
Can we edit that part out?
Oh dear word, is it recording?
As one small member of the TLC/CETL support crew, we appreciate you… our presenters and our participants. It is not an easy undertaking to manage websites, Zoom sessions, calendars and staff. Just know, we practice remaining calm, and do enjoy the role.
With students at the center of our 2020 focus, this year I hosted a number of student presenters and have enjoyed every minute of supporting and encouraging them.
And don’t worry… I hit “record”.
Faculty Support and Development Associate
Ashford University / Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning