UNIT initiates Element K Internet training program

Melissa Weigel

The University Information Technologies (UNIT) office recently implemented a new training program for faculty and staff. Element K online training is a program that allows individual faculty and staff members to work through tutorials for applications such as Microsoft Word, Excel, Access, FrontPage, PowerPoint, Publisher and Outlook.

“We had decided we were going to go with some sort of online training source because people had been asking for it,” said Rachel Scheller, training coordinator for UNIT’s Department of Instructional Technologies, said. “We had four different vendors come and present their plans, and we went with Element K as it was the most the stable.”

From November of last year to May of this year, UNIT tested the program. Fifty licenses were available to faculty and staff members to use for approximately one month each. Over 200 people were given the opportunity to test the program, and about half actually used it. “Feedback was positive, even though not everyone who issued an account got a chance to use it,” Schaller said. “Many were too busy to use the service.”

With Element K, faculty and staff members can choose which training courses they need and can complete them at their own pace. An interactive program, Element K both teaches skills and allows users to practice these skills immediately.

This training program uses Shockwave technology and the Internet, so faculty and staff can access it from any computer with Internet access.

This means they can even use it at home with their automatically issued user account. This eliminates the necessity of faculty and staff members attending UNIT courses at the University.

Students, however, do not have Element K training accounts at this time. “Ifthere is an interest among students in the future, and if we can find the funding, there’s a possibility that licenses may be purchased for full-time students in June 2005,” Schaller explained.

“UNIT will survey students in the spring to determine interest in the service.”

In the meantime, the hands-on workshops that UNIT offers are available to all students as well as faculty and staff. These workshops cover a myriad of programs including Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Flash and Fireworks.

Schaller also mentioned that she would possibly be developing workshops specifically geared toward students in the future. These workshops would focus on learning how to use Word to help with papers (i.e., learning how to do things such as headers and bulleting) plus Microsoft PowerPoint.