by Melissa Robertson, Learning Technologies Support Specialist, Centre for Innovation and Excellence in Learning (CIEL), VIU

mediummelissaFor my first post in the 5X5X25 challenge, I decided to reflect on my learning journey while working at the Centre for Innovation and Excellence in Learning. When I first started at the Centre, I had decided I no longer wanted to work as a K-12 teacher. I was originally hired as an “Online Course Support Assistant”, and have transitioned fairly recently into the position of “Learning Technologies Support Specialist”. Not a day goes by that I don’t learn something new or show someone something that I have learned, and I love it.

Looking back I had to learn two different learning management systems, as my job was moving courses from Moodle into Desire2Learn. I quickly learned that things don’t always transition smoothly from one system to the other, but the existing team was always willing and able to teach me new things. I soon found it fascinating and challenging to make the courses match as perfectly as possible; it took hard work, a lot testing, and finding new and creative solutions. At times, there was frustration, but I was able to realize that even though things aren’t always perfect I had to let that go.

I soon began working with faculty and discovered what it was like to work with adults; it was unique for me as I had spent my entire career to date working with people under the age of 10. At first, I was nervous, but the faculty at this campus put me at ease right away. I started to see that my skills as a teacher were useful to me, and one in particular was the ability to break things down into simpler, more manageable parts. Basic analogies and stories really do help people of all ages grasp and master new skills. I have also learned that different analogies tend to work better for different departments on campus. Bit by bit, I gained knowledge and confidence in my skills, and understood more than I thought possible about a learning management system.

Just as I thought I had achieved mastery, I got a change to attend the Desire2Learn conference “Fusion”. This conference opened my eyes to many more possibilities, and I was really just touching the surface of what was possible. There were so many new ideas and things to be learned and that really made me excited to return where I could share everything that I had learned. I try to put that learning to use every day while I work with faculty and students. I know that even though I learned a lot while I was there, I continue learning new things daily.

Then I started working with faculty in Health and Human Services and my growth and learning continue. This group of instructors have taught me so much – I came to the conclusion that teaching and learning is a give and take process. Every time I meet with an instructor, they give me their time, we work as a team to solve a problem, and a lot of times I learn something new along the way. It’s nice to know that they teach me things about life and people, as much as I teach them about technology.

As I move forward this year, I look forward to the challenges and puzzles that working at CIEL bring. I know that my journey is only just beginning, as there is more learning and growth required of me.