This is my first post to this blog. I titled it why because I figured anyone who reads this blog will want to know my reason for starting it. There are a couple different reasons actually…
First, I want a space to experiment with new design methods and digital tools, to reflect on what I learn, and to get feedback from others. I am of a generation that has had one foot in and one foot out of the digital world. As a high school and college student I used long-hand to take course notes and I typed college and scholarship applications on a typewriter. My use of computers was limited to word processing. The move to internet, iPads, and apps has taken place since I’ve been out of college. In the intervening years I have played around with social media, started a travel blog, and tested a variety of online platforms and technologies. Nevertheless, none of this inquiry has been very systematic. Starting with this blog, I aim to be a bit more thorough in my approach by documenting and reflecting on the design ideas and tools I encounter. I also hope to hear back from others on their own experimentation with digital technologies and thereby expand my view of what’s out there and what’s possible.
Second, I’m currently in the middle of a career transformation and want a way to share my experiences with others. My career transition has been underway for a while, and while I’m homing in on a particular field (instructional design and e-learning), the transition process is not yet complete. I’ve personally benefited from online forums for career changers, such as The Versatile PhD. By sharing my story I hope I can provide some help and support to other career changers, especially ABDs and PhDs looking to move beyond academia, even if their paths are different from mine.
While I still feel like I’m in the midst of great change, I’m coming to realize that moving into this blog and into a career in e-learning and instructional design is less a break from the past than I initially thought. I’ve long had interests in design and in the way people combine different modes–text on tangible objects, video with text, audio with image and text–to communicate with others or to represent themselves to themselves. There are actually many examples of representation and communication where modes are combined (think books-on-tape or illustrated manuscripts). In fact, much of the work in my “past life” concerned how oral, visual, and written modes were combined in ancient times, how cultural works were redesigned using material from the past, and how those redesigns impacted how early cultures understood who they were and where they came from. I’m actually quite excited at the prospect of learning how design theories might help me articulate ideas about cultural formation that I’ve worked on previously. At the same time, I look forward to applying my knowledge of literacy and multimedia, gleaned from the study of the pre-modern period, to help solve more contemporary problems and issues.