Title IX training reboot for University of Alaska

The University of Alaska will have its own version of the mandatory online Title IX training. The new format will be more accessible, applicable and relatable for the UA community.

Graphic by Michaeline Collins.

Prevention education coordinator Bridget Coffou and other UA staff responded to survey feedback from the past two years by replacing the Haven training hosted by Everfi with UA’s own Title IX online training on Blackboard. They first started writing the script for the Alaska and UA centered training in October of 2018.

The new online training will be approximately half an hour long, as opposed to the previous length of an hour to an hour and a half. It will also be completed in one part rather than two, featuring statistics and images from UA campuses. The script will be written on the screen with a voice-over option rather than displayed through video. However, it will still have the same basic content and multiple-choice question format.

“A lot of the feedback that we got the last two years that we have required the training is that it just feels very impersonal and that it didn’t resonate with really anyone,” Coffou said. “Some of the [scenarios] that they were talking about [in the training] and even the images were just not things that happen here or just isn’t how our university looks.”

The former Title IX training offered by UA presented sexual violence statistics on a national scale. Now, it will include data from the UA Justice Center’s survey of UA campuses.

A lack of relatable content is the main reason why the university is making its own Title IX training.

“That’s probably the biggest way we are very much so narrowing in to our university,” Coffou said.

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The inclusion of photos of people and places at UA campuses are also meant to make the Title IX training more personal and relatable for UA community members.

Another issue students came forward with is that the videos in the training were not easily accessible under poor wifi connections or limited bandwidth.

“People on our campus, it was taking them an hour to an hour and a half, but people out in more rural areas, it was taking them three to four hours to complete,” Coffou said. “We figured that taking out all of the animations will significantly help that.”

Many UA employees and students have reviewed the new script for accuracy and the desired increase in relatable content.

“I think it covers everything that needs to be covered,” Coffou said. “I hope that it’s informative and if they take away anything, they know that ‘hey, there’s an office on campus, that if I get discriminated against, harassed or whatever it might be, there’s an office I can go to.’”

UA leaders believe the Title IX training is important for the university. Even though it is mandated, they hope that students recognize its value.

“I hope [students] will react positively,” Coffou said. “It’s an online training that we are requiring, so I think people right off the bat aren’t super jazzed about that.”

At the very least, Coffou anticipates a positive response to the shorter time span of the training. As she predicted, students expressed relief upon hearing about the changes.

“For the past two years, I was also a mandated reporter as part of my job, and I think that allowing the training to more accurately reflect UAA might also remind people to speak up when they see something wrong,” UAA student and Learning Commons employee Elena Peyton Jones said. “My hope is that this change will help us as students to better prepare, even just as support for the parties involved.”

If all goes as planned, the new training will be available by July 1, 2019, Coffou said.

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