Career channeling change

The other day I tweeted a cry for help:

Smart writer enamored w #edtech. Bkgd publishing, higher ed. Should I learn programming? Advice sought!

and tagged it for MOOC participants in the last couple of courses I’ve taken.

Oddly, no one had The Answer. No voice from on high said, “Go learn Java!” or “Try creating an app!” Where is a dictator or a paranormal being when I need one? I don’t believe in either, but frankly at this point I’m looking for any clue.

I have been in and out of educational publishing for the last decade, and I think that the industry as we know it is going to look very different in 10 years. Already the larger publishers reach out into software and even into directly granting degrees. Businesses are getting (too) interested in the economic potential of education and are seeing the arena as an untapped fount of (mostly public) money; the publishing or “content delivery” side of things is one potential area of investment and acquisition.

But in the small company I currently work for, I hear comments like “We’re not a software company” and executives wishing aloud that technology would just “go away.” Hence, I’m not learning anything. Don’t get me wrong: informal learning works, especially for me. Despite all evidence to the contrary, I have a big brain. But I have to translate that into a resume entry, a “marketable skill,” or ideally some sort of portfolio of interesting work.

So what I’ve done is. . .quit my day job. (Music swells here.) As of next week, I will be cobbling together several great freelance gigs and part-time teaching at a local community college (read: minimum wage) to support my quest for figuring out what makes most sense for me to do with the rest of my time on earth. I am hoping that I can free up some time to participate fully in Change MOOC (#change11) as well as the Instructional Design course I am taking through the University of Manitoba’s Emerging Technologies in Learning certificate program. I am hoping to offer my skills to further this odd movement of creating artifacts, writings, and videos just for and about learning, but I don’t know where that road takes me. Unlike my usual nature to plan everything, I’m planning only to leave myself open to all sorts of possibilities that hover around (“learning” ≈ “education” ≈ “technology” ) and try to leave some helpful breadcrumbs for others even in my mistakes.


4 Responses to Career channeling change

  1. IMHO: you have a great foundation going for yourself–strong writing skills, coupled with an interest in educational technology and instructional design. I recently wrote on the need for greater information design & technical writing skills amongst e-learning professionals:

    Good luck on the new path–and drop us a line if you want to follow up on the UM certificate with a master’s degree ;>

  2. Not sure if you have heard of this very useful resource: ask questions about ID and technology and helpful people appear.

    These links appeared on the forum yesterday:

    Where I work we use odesk and near-by independent content creators for all of our overload. The overload itself is created by both a shortage of IDs available for direct hiring in our area and uneven work flow that makes it preferable to be short-staffed and very busy over comfortable but part-time.

    We build courses in Moodle and the most common supporting programs are Articulate and Captivate. We have nobody trained in Flash so these get mostly farmed out but do need someone who can edit in Flash so I’m going to learn it.

    A great deal of the work done out of our office is low level content loading and editing—which is to say you don’t need an advanced degree as much as a willingness to plug away and get better to get in the door.

    Good Luck! You’ll do fine.

    • leahgrrl says:

      Thanks, Scott. That’s helpful information, and I appreciate it. I hope to carve out some time this winter to actually create some artifacts and begin to put together a portfolio of sorts. That seems more germane to getting other projects than does concatenating another set of letters behind my name.

  3. jaapsoft2 says:

    Congratulations with your new life.
    My old great grandfather always said: If you doubt about it, do not do it.
    So if you doubt about programming, just do not do it
    If your doubts are not that big, try Program with Ruby on Rails, new and excellent programming possibilities. and you could learn it at home, just to try out.

    as a freelancer: do what you like best, for if you do not do what you like it will be difficult to motivate yourself.

    make the best of it good luck.

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