Why do I need a technical specialist in an online school, what are his main responsibilities and how to choose the right person for the team? Says Tatiana Dushkina, technical specialist of the Higher School of Target, “Access Points” and the online school “White EdTech & Elearn».
Online school technician Facts
The technical specialist of the online school solves all technical issues, but sometimes he can also turn to third-party developers. He sets up a learning management system (LMS), gives access to courses, connects payment systems, can assemble a landing page on the constructor, organize a webinar, and then process the recording, connect and configure chatbots.
Also, such a person selects the most suitable software solutions depending on the specifics and budget of the school. Here it is worth considering which audience the school works with (children or adults, local or foreigners), which way of perceiving information is most familiar to its audience, as well as the number of students and a lot of other parameters provided by the school management.
A technical specialist should not be able to program, he may be able to do it, but then his pay will be higher.
Duties of a technical specialist
Responsibilities are formed from school requests, budget, and team size.
An option is possible when a specialist is hired for a project and does not work in the state. What could be the essence of the project? Set up a course before launching, create a landing page, connect a payment system. And subsequent support is provided by a curator or in the format of consultations.
Watching vacancies, I see that some employers invest completely different things in the duties of a technical specialist: from e-mail marketing and creating landing pages, to the settings of targeted advertising — and they want to pay very little money for it. Surely such multifunctional people exist somewhere in a parallel reality, but still you should be realistic and not try to close all the tasks with one person.
It should be borne in mind that a person working in this position has a technical mindset and, for example, beautiful texts are unlikely to be given to him easily. Copy the mailing list template and slightly correct it — yes. But give him the help of an editor or copywriter if you need to add a memo to the course for students or change the text of homework.
“I do not know” is a phrase that a technical specialist never says to either students or team members. Why? Because Google is his best friends. A good specialist, if he does not know something, searches and finds the necessary information, and if he cannot find it, asks colleagues, tries, understands and gives one or more answers to the question or problem posed.
Students don’t have their own technical problems. Even if I understand that everything is fine on my part, I have to offer all possible ways out of the situation. It is important that the student continues the course as soon as possible.
Example. A student from FUTA complains that the video of the course plays slowly and freezes. During the conversation, it turns out that the reason is bad Internet at her home, but in other places the video loads well. But I stay in touch while the student tries to detect the problem, goes to the service with a laptop, checks playback on different devices.
Now she is one of the most loyal students of our school.
Aspect Two on online school technician: Soft skills of a technical specialist
An online school technical specialist is not an introvert who does not know how to communicate with people. The degree of humanity and the desire to help both students and team members should be high enough for him. Sometimes, especially with massive technical failures and launches, it is exhausting, but this happens infrequently, and you should be prepared for it.
It is important to be able to explain complex technical issues in simple words, to make clear instructions with screenshots, transcripts, how to do something within the framework of online school processes.
80% of the work consists of routine and rather monotonous actions. You need to be prepared for this. When planning a working day, I make sure that there is a creative component in it, combine monotonous actions with those where you need to think, switch from communicating with students to designing and editing trainings or studying new chatbot creation systems.
Constant learning and watching is an integral part of life. When taking third-party courses, I always look at what can be improved in our school, how to make the presentation of courses more attractive to students, what tools can be used to make the student’s path more effective and enjoyable.
A technical specialist thinks in processes, this is important, because if errors or non-standard situations occur, you need to understand where and what could have broken, and quickly fix it. Also important is the ability to think sensibly, reason and work in stressful situations when everything went wrong as expected.
How to look for an online school technical specialist?
— When hiring such a specialist, include in the test tasks the tasks that he will have to solve.
— It can be the possession of certain tools, the solution of technical issues of users, the selection of solutions according to the specified parameters.
— Be sure to add a non-standard, non-trivial task or question that is slightly higher than the stated competencies, and check whether the person will cope.
An online school is a developing and growing structure, and such a specialist will have to grow and develop with it.
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