Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Everything you ever wanted to know, and more about...coal mining

Shockingly, Immersion is almost halfway through the semester. Where did the time go?

I have learned such an incredible amount over the past several weeks. Time is flying, and this weekend my MSHA team is venturing up to Waynesburg, PA for a coal mine tour, followed by a visit to the Mine Academy in WV for the TRAM conference. I feel that after we return from these two 'field trips,' our team is

a) going to be swamped with work and meeting goals and deadlines for our prototype; and
b) really prepared and fully equipped with a ton of pertinent information to tackle the tasks that lie ahead.

I spend almost every spare momemt of my time reading. Though I'm often exhausted from the busy life I lead, when I go to class and the material makes sense and I'm able to synthesize things well, it's extremely rewarding. I'm also finding that I'm able to connect some course material to our Immersion project -- it's like instant returns on my education; I don't have to wait until next year when I have an ID job to see how things make sense!

David Wiley recently delivered one of the most interesting talks I've heard in the past few months. He discussed learning objects, and opened up a whole new world for me. Before his talk and the readings, I'd had a fuzzy idea of what a learning object was and what it did, but his talk brought the concept to light in my mind. Also, he told us about MIT's open courseware website and about 10 other websites of neat technological concepts that I was unfamiliar with but can't wait to look back into!

Back in January, despite a strong preference to hire a candidate with a master's degree in Instructional Technology, I applied for and was accepted for interviews (both by phone and in person, on campus) for an Instructional Technologist position at a prominent liberal arts institution in Pennsylvania. A few (the job description was two pages long!) of the duties and responsibilities of the positon are listed below:

Act as the application owner and assist in the administration of the Blackboard course management system.
Assist in the implementing and managing online instructional tools.
Assist Faculty and Staff to implement and design on line materials and learning objects.
Design, develop and deliver instructional technology in support of undergraduate and graduate courses.
Contribute to the professional development of faculty, students, and colleagues, for example by designing and leading workshops and by preparing handouts, product documentation, etc.
Train students in specific software/media skills when needed to support course instruction or requirements.
Assist faculty in the design of professional presentations and related projects.
Supervise student assistants who provide both design and delivery support.
Keep abreast of new developments in instruction and technology.
Investigate software tools, multimedia products, etc., and assess their application to instruction.

Okay, so this is my ideal job. And the interview was one of the catalysts for my enrollment in the Immersion program. Anyway, looking back at the full job description, I realize that my knowledge of almost everything the job consists of has expanded tenfold, and I've technically only been back in school since June. So when I had the interview, if I'd have known half of the stuff I know now from Immersion, they would be knocking down my door for me to come and work there. Just kidding!


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