"You have to be organized to do well as a distance learner. DeVry makes it as easy as possible for you. Everything is online: the syllabus, the teacher, the textbook, a library, and access to research and periodicals."
Where I come from
In my college computer science classes, I was the only one among the programming students who really liked documenting what we did. That's the way I found my niche. I started as a tech writer in my 20s, working for small companies. I set my sights on working for a large consulting company that would offer a variety of clients and challenges and give me more chances to continue learning.
I took night courses at the University of Michigan to get my master's in technical communications. For seven years, including my time in graduate school, I was a single mother with triplets. It was a tremendous challenge, but it made a big difference. I take responsibility for being as good as possible at what I do. I am now at the top of my field.
As a senior consultant for a large corporation, with over 20 years on the job, I now do some information design, program management, business process design and instructional design in addition to technical writing. Because of my technical background, I get involved in data integration and other technical aspects of the client project. I support clients in various industries: manufacturing, automotive, human resources, and more.
My classroom, my world
I teach Information Design as well as Comp100. Information design is a passion for me given the combination of graphic design, technical communication and the use of Adobe products such as Adobe InDesign. COMP 100 is a prerequisite course for many programs at DeVry University. The course is designed to help students understand and effectively use Microsoft Office and Windows operating systems. In addition, I have delivered live lectures on COMP course assignments and the concepts supporting them. Via the computer, students can ask questions or talk through problems they are having, and I can draw on the whiteboard. In addition, I have taught Sunday school and led corporate training classes. I get a kick out of explaining things simply and effectively so that people at different levels can understand and apply the information.
Consulting has taught me always to meet or exceed customer expectations. I bring that to the classroom, where the students are my customers, and I also try to teach it as the key to success in the business world. Always exceed expectations - do more than the job description, do more than you say you will. For example, I read the Wall Street Journal every day to keep informed about business trends that my clients face.
The teacher I most admired taught my high school geometry class. He had been a principal, had retired, and was coming back to the classroom. He was tough and very human. I liked him immediately. Most of my classmates did not, but he won them over by the end of the course. He expected us to work to your full potential, and he cared about us.
As a teacher myself, I try to do the same. When students answer a question in one or two sentences, I suggest ways to expand their response - show their thinking, do some research, refer to the book - whatever it takes to engage with the material. I really do care about how well my students do. I try to imagine the face behind every name on the screen. I check my voicemail and email every day so that I am accessible when students have a question.
You have to be organized to do well as a distance learner. DeVry University makes it as easy as possible for you. Everything is online: the syllabus, the teacher, the textbook, a library, and access to research and periodicals. The platform that connects you with the teacher and other students is very easy to use. The online library, also has links to computer-based learning modules so you can practice your skills.
On the other hand, you have to organize your time so that you can prepare for and participate in class. The more you participate, the more you have the opportunity to learn.
DeVry University has a true student focus. The university is very aware of student needs and works tirelessly to improve the student experience.