|Goals Coming Into the ID&D Masters Program
I have chosen a master’s in Instructional Technology because it is the next logical step in my career. I have always had a creative imagination. Personally I began as a kid making arts and crafts. I then began designing desktop publishing pieces on the job during college. Since then I have been designing websites, brochures, email campaigns and newsletters. Most professional organizations are moving towards some type of instructional technology whether it is online learning, classes via CD’s or even new technologies for traditional in the classroom courses. Technology has always been an interest of mine. I like to learn new technologies if they can improve my career. With learning on the rise through technology, it will open many doors to professional opportunities with the knowledge I will gain from George Mason University.
Academically I started my undergraduate degree with the major of early childhood education. But information technology has always been an interest and at that time it was not in the education field as prominently as it is today. I then obtained a certificate of Information Technology from Northern Virginia Community College to make sure I truly wanted to be in the technology industry. Since entering the professional industry, I have continued my education by taking adult education classes in technology. I have taken classes in: SQL, HTML, Macromedia Cold Fusion and Flash. I considered completing the webmaster certificate program at Northern Virginia Community College but I have professional experience or knowledge in most of the classes they offer.
Coming to George Mason University in the Instructional Technology program will give me the opportunity to learn some things new as well as build on my current knowledge. I have had many professional experiences related to instructional technology. After graduating from George Mason University as an undergraduate, I was hired by VCampus Corporation. VCampus is one of the leading online learning providers. At VCampus I worked in the help desk. I learned quickly how online courses are developed and how to support them. I also saw the number of organizations, (public and private companies, K-12, colleges and universities) who have implemented some form of online learning. Technology has become the future of education.
Currently I work for TREEV, who creates software for the financial industry. I work in the marketing department as the Web and Electronic Marketing Manager. In this role I manage web servers, write the content, design the look and feel and code three websites. I design and implement a quarterly printed newsletter to our customers and I also design and deliver email campaigns to customers and prospects. These campaigns have to be written in a concise manner so that people receiving them will read it and take advantage of the call to action. Much like training courses the email campaigns must be broken down for the way the users will interpret the message. I also support our customers who need access to one of our secured websites. I am very well organized and manage my time in order to be efficient when multi-tasking is required.
TREEV currently educates customers via live webcasts and promotes them via email campaigns. These webcasts are time consuming on the presenters part to prepare for each presentation and the time to deliver them each week. We have developed a couple online training tutorials that are not using today’s technology.
Professionally my goal is to assist TREEV in advancing their training techniques. The Master of Education program in Instructional Technology will give me the knowledge to understand how students learn, and the best way to present the materials. It also will enhance my technical knowledge of what the best tools are to create the courses. My future professional goal is to bring more of this technical instruction to private schools. Working in elementary schools will help introduce information technology to youngsters as early as possible to show them what the current and future of technology will be.
I have chosen George Mason University for a Masters in Education in Instructional Technology because I have professional experience in technical design and content development. I have always enjoyed teaching others and have the ability to break down a procedure so that people can learn and complete the task themselves. The Instructional Design and Development track provides the knowledge to develop as well as learn the cognitive processes of students and the relation of these processes to instructional design. Particularly I chose George Mason University as my choice of school because I am an alumnus of GMU. While getting my bachelors degree I thought very highly of the quality of professors, the administration, and the cultural environment that GMU provides.
Goals Middle of ID&D Masters Program
Now that I am halfway through the Masters of Education Instructional Design and Development program at GMU my goals have changed. I left TREEV to work for Oracle USA before a departmental reorganization required me to look for a new position. I now work for ARIN (American Registry for Internet Numbers) as their Web Support Specialist. Although I maintain the websites they are benefiting from my education in ID&D. In my first three months I successfully designed, wrote content and project managed a vendor in the develop of a training course for our sister company called AfriNIC. It is now in the evaluation phase as we begin to convert the course into French. The impact of this training course was not only beneficial for me to implement what I’ve learned in class on the job but as the President of my organization stated “this training course will change the effectiveness of the Internet in Africa”. Currently there are many rural areas that have low-bandwidth or do not have the means to travel to meetings to find out how to receive IP addresses to host their companies on the web. The training course is offered via cd-rom to be mailed or handed out at meetings so that the users can take the training on their own time and learn how to request IP addresses.
I am excited to continue learning skills in class that will help better my skills on the job. My organization has ideas of several more training projects for me to implement over the next two years. These projects will help in my career goal of transitioning from a Web Designer to becoming an experienced Instructional Designer.
Goals End of ID&D Masters Program
As I approach the end of this program I have gained more experience at work with instructional design projects. I continued the evaluation phase of the AfriNIC CBT and the users are finding the course very beneficial. The only issue that occurred is the course with voice has a large file size and because of the bandwidth available in some parts of Africa users were not able to download the course. To overcome this issue I implemented a version of the same course without voice so that users are able to download it in rural areas.
I have now completed the project of converting the same course to French. AfriNIC has a cross-cultural need to have content in various languages. I believe here in the United States we take for granted all the technological advances we have available to us. Working with an international community to understand their needs and develop content that will remain useful to them as their technology advances was a challenge. If I used dial-up here in Virginia it is still faster than some dial-up connections in Africa. This is a major consideration that developers need to remember if they are building courses for an international community. In addition, when translating English content into French, there are many different dialects that even when using a translator who is fluent in French, they may not have the correct translation of the word. I thought of it as the differences in pronunciation of a word when someone from the north and south say the same word and it sounds completely different. It was extremely important to continuously go back to the client and ensure the translations, written and verbally, were correct according to the way someone in Africa would expect to understand the content. Using instructional technology to teach an international community is an incredible enhancement. These particular courses whether in English or French are built for the users to take the course on their own whether the have downloaded it or have it on cd-rom. This allows them to learn how to request Internet resources and call the organization when they are ready. Having rural areas where classroom training is difficult, this method reaches more people and will change the Internet usage in Africa from now on.
I have now begun a new course for my company, ARIN, that will be an educational tool for teaching the Internet community what the Internet Resources Policy Evaluation Process is and why it is important for our members to be an active participant in this process. This is my third instructional technology project in the real world. They have all been different and it is rewarding to know people are benefiting from the technology resources that I am creating.
As I work for an organization that allocates Internet Protocol resources, develops consensus-based policies, and facilitates the advancement of the Internet though information and educational outreach, I feel privileged to be able to help bridge the gap between information technology and instructional technology. I work for an organization that thousands of people rely on everyday. Can you survive a day with absolutely no Internet resources available to you? I created this portfolio on the web for an instructional technology program that all of my classes used the web to turn in assignments and work online with team members to complete the projects. I am privileged to be in a role that the training I help provide to our community will ensure that you will remain on the Internet. The IP addresses provided to the world is managed by five Regional Internet Registries. I have already been involved in developing training materials for two of the five organizations. I hope to continue developing instructional materials and provide ARIN the educational outreach that is needed as the Internet evolves.
Career Goals Statement
To be an active participant in bridging the gap between information technology, specifically Internet resources and instructional technology.
Lifelong Learning Goals Statement
To effectively demonstrate instructional technology skills in educational settings whether at work, home or in sports.