In my last post I talked about the possibility of becoming an archivist. Now I want to tackle the other idea that has been in my head for the last few days: educational technologist.
I currently work for the Instructional Design and eTeaching Services (IDeS) department at Boston College, which is involved in helping professors integrate technology into their teaching. We support everything from the Learning Management System (currently Blackboard Vista) to Skype. My role centers on troubleshooting and maintenance of five technology classrooms on campus, each equipped with state of the art desktops or laptops at each desk for student use. I am also involved in a few other operational responsibilities, including support of Lecture Capture and iclickers. Though I don’t interface directly with most of the IDeS staff on a daily basis, I have worked to build relationships with several team members and try to contribute to the overall success of the department.
Between finishing my undergraduate degree and matriculating in grad school, I spent six years working in Information Technology. Though not my favorite period in my life so far, I was qualified for the work and found certain parts of it highly enjoyable. Two of the parts that I enjoyed the most were new software integration and user training. I have always enjoyed learning new software, whether it was reading the Quickbooks manual at 15 so I could teach my parents’ friends how to use it, becoming adept at Quark Express in journalism class in high school, or learning to support the Microsoft Suite both in and after college. The kind of excitement I get from tackling a new project and figuring out how to make it work has no parallel in the academic world, as far as I can tell. It’s a little bit like the first time I decided to undertake home repairs by myself: somewhat frightening, all-consuming, and immensely rewarding.
The reason I mention all of this is because it seems to me that academic (or educational) technology contains all the tech I want to work with and very little of the rest. My history degree would be a major benefit, as it allows me to “see behind the curtain,” so to speak, and get a glimse of what faculty members are actually facing in their quests to be excellent teachers. Working with faculty on new and interesting ways to make their courses better sounds like a very fulfilling career. Getting to work with new tech and teach it to others strikes me as a really interesting day-to-day experience. And constantly learning new things, both tech and academic, seems right up my alley.