Interest in Distance Education
In my work as well as my personal life, I have always been fascinated by technology because of the opportunities that it offers to enhance communication and improve productivity. For the past 20+ years, I have had a career in various aspects of high-tech marketing and have enjoyed the chance to use emerging technologies - from desktop publishing to the Internet to video conferencing to digital video - to communicate information relating to products, services and sales training. My early adoption of many of these technologies led one magazine editor to describe me as an “unabashed technophile” in an article he wrote about my desktop publishing endeavors way back in the mid-1980s.
However, after many years marketing widgets, I felt that it might be time to engage in some type of work that could be more satisfying and hopefully, less cutthroat. When I learned about the disciplines of Educational Technology and Distance Education, I thought that this might be an area where I could channel my interests in technology in a more beneficial manner.
Ultimately, I would like to “retire” from my marketing career and find post-retirement work as an instructor, instructional designer or manager/facilitator for instructional technology in an adult education setting such as a community college, online university program or even a corporate training environment. Although I would prefer to work as an employee, I would also consider working as a consultant or contractor. One of the aspects that especially appeals to me about Distance Education specifically has to do with the concept of working independent of location. I have always loved to travel and would like to be able to have a profession that I could practice from virtually anywhere – or through which I could share different parts of the world with students. I have thus far completed seven courses towards the EDTEC Masters, and would not have been able to do that without the ability to work at distances ranging from North San Diego County to the East Coast to Central America to Europe (and I’m hoping for trips to South American and Asia before I graduate!).
Because my personal style involves an odd dichotomy of disorganized organization, I work best in a flexibly structured environment that probably places me midway up the structure scale. While I like to have deadlines to keep focused, I also need flexibility to be able to juggle some of the priorities of paying clients who aren’t terribly sympathetic or supportive about the demands of my schoolwork. And while I like the flexibility afforded by working independently, I have also enjoyed the synchronous chats and most of the collaborative projects in some of the classes I have taken so far as they seem to cultivate a sense of community.
Although I have not yet selected a topic to explore for this class, I am interested in some of the international perspectives relating to distance education as well as aspects exploring different audiences and types of learners.
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© 2003, 2004 Susan Connell, Educational Technology Student at San Diego State University