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>Date: Fri, 25 Apr 1997 10:57:54 -0700
>From: Shawn Bloomquist <beezer -at- PLAYFUL -dot- COM>
>Subject: Need sound advice
>I am so thankful to find this list. As a second year college student with
>high hopes of receiving a MS in Instructional Systems Technology, it is
>becoming increasingly difficult to find anyone with knowledge concerning
Actually, in mebbe ten years of bein' a civilian, I've not met an
instructional technologist who started that way... <smile>
Within the Maricopa Community College District, at Honeywell Automation
College, and elsewhere, most of the instructional technologists I've met
had degrees or careers in something else when, for one reason or another,
they thought something up and did it, becoming the IT almost by default....
Alan Levine of the Maricopa Center for Learning and Instruction has a
pretty cool story about it (or I thought so <grin>) at
<http://www.mcli.dist.maricopa.edu/alan/wurk.html>, and the rest of the
MCLI website has tons of links and content for the stuff you might be
> I know of no one personally in this field, but I know
>this is what I really want to do. What is the BEST possible route to take?
>Is a BA in a Technical Writing program sufficient?
Independent Study might not be a bad way to go... speaking from personal
experience; community colleges have a screaming need for people who can
work in Instructional Technology Services, but usually they can't pay much:
usually as soon as they get their degrees (or sometimes sooner) they're
outta there, hired away for gobs of money in very satisfying jobs due to
the contacts and experience they gained while working part or full time as
interns, technicians, or trainers. [the CITS I just left suffered a major
exodus when the kids I started working on the Net with just two years ago
got their Bachelor's, and the interns got snapped up in the Spring contract
Tickets you need to get punched on this path:
* Stay on course for your BA or BS,
* Most of the hiring managers I know and wanted to work for will be
impressed by an independent study program <smile>, because they're
probably not on campus (or working somewhere else in the ditrict) in the
work you have to do to dig up contacts for info you'll need to complete
this program you'll gain a lot of valuable insight into the type of work
there is to be done,
* Join STC and/or the National Society for Performance and Instruction,
hang out, get noticed, do whatever they need done, get noticed, get known:
the managers and Sr. Techwriters/Instructors (f'rinstance) at all the
companies you oughtta work for in your first coupla years are at these
* Get an internship or part-time postiion with Computer and Instructional
technology Services at your local community college (you'll make contacts
there, too, as well as gain a lot of experience -- I know a coupla people
that ended up teaching just cos they hung out in the graphics lab all day
and ended up supporting new students),
* Contact your local Internet Provider and see if they're running classes
for their customers, even if they're not; offer to run those classes --
after Net customers have spent four hours on the phone with tech support,
they'll pay a king's ransom for some training.
* Do tech support at your local ISP <shudder> the phones may drive you
crazy, but there is no better way to get intimate, intuitive knowlwedge of
what technology-users need to understand, and how the light comes on when
they finally *do* understand.
FWIW, this seems like the path to almost any kinda work that's been asked
about here... do I detect a pattern here? It sounds almost like Smokey
Yunick's advice for would-be race mechanics in Circle-Track magazine: Hang
around the shop with a broom for free long enough and someday someone'll
ask ya to hang on to this airwrench fer a minute and the the next thing
you know somebody in the pit crew is not gonna be able to make the next
race and there you are...<grin>
Best of luck, Shawn!
"Show up, be there, think it up and do it, exceed your job-description,
control your own means of production (that's yer brain)! "
Dan Brinegar Information Developer/Research Droid/Mac Guy http://vr2link.com <-- under construction
Acting Chief Deputy Developer
Macintosh Technical Support
Arizona's only REAL Ex-NetZone Employee's Association!
djb -at- vr2link -dot- com -- Virtual INK
Performance S u p p o r t Svcs.