Student Spotlight

Photo: Christine Miller

Christine Miller

Christine shared with us her observations about the E-Learning Design & Development certificate program.

Could you tell us a little bit about your current work?
I am a Multimedia Specialist in the Distance Education Department at Santa Monica College (SMC). I have been with the college since January of 1998. During this time, online education has changed dramatically, as has my job. Multimedia is more easily created than it was when I first started at my position. Because of this, my job has changed to one of being able to recommend the right tool or method to accomplish the learning objective of any particular professor.

What made you want to pursue training in E-Learning Design & Development?
My supervisor actually suggested that some formal training might be helpful in pursuing a reclassification. I chose the SF State program because this training seems more focused the educational field. Many of the other programs I had looked at seemed geared towards a business design and training model, which didn't address the needs for my particular skill set.

I hope to apply the knowledge and skills that I learn from this certificate program to my current job and also use this certificate to broaden my job title to reflect my training and instructional design duties that are now a crucial part of my job.

What were some of your favorite moments from the program?
I really enjoyed being pushed by the instructors to work outside of my comfort zone. In Dylan's class, we had to create project utilizing an LMS (Learning Management System) and he challenged me to do this assignment in Gnomio/Moodle instead of Canvas (the LMS that Santa Monica College uses). I'm glad he did and now I have some knowledge about that LMS too.

I've also enjoyed meeting new people through the program. There is such a wide variety of people interested in the program too, and I believe it has helped me to use their respective professional knowledge and apply it to my own work situation. Fellow students include not only those in the educational field, but also the publishing, medical and even military fields. And everyone is so nice!! There is lots of engagement within the threaded discussion forums and I feel you really get to know people.

How was it taking a fully online program?
So far, I really like it. I have four more classes to go but it has really worked well in my schedule. Although it was a lot of work, since online classes require you to manage your time, I was able to do it without too much trouble. Of course, it helped that some of the homework I had to do I could directly relate to my current job. I will be able to use one of my projects from Adaptive Prototyping, directly in my role as a trainer in the Canvas LMS at Santa Monica College.

In addition, because it is fully online, I am still able to spend time with my 13 year old son and be there to support him in his academics and sporting activities. Plus, I can live in southern California and don't have to worry about making a trek to a campus.

Would you like to comment on the instructors?
All of the instructors I have had thus far have been great. They are all very knowledgeable in their area of instruction. And all of them have made their classes fun. Lots of engagement in the online sessions, and they were all willing to listen to students and apply our comments to real world situations.

Do you have any advice for future program students?
If you work full-time, I'd recommend taking one class at a time. This has worked well for me and allowed me to really throw myself into the content so that I could gain the most from it. The classes are short enough in length that I was able to complete three of them over a traditional spring semester (back-to-back courses).

What do you hope to do after you graduate?
I hope this certificate will show that I have the training to now be more than a Multimedia Specialist (my current job title) and get a reclassification to a Course Designer/Instructional Designer title. I've learned a lot about Instructional Design, particularly the academic jargon that goes with the skills gained through the years at my current position. I've also learned some new skills and methods that will allow me to better assist our faculty to create more engaging courses for our student population and put our students on a path to success in their educational pursuits.

Do you feel the knowledge you gained in the program helped your career?
Most definitely YES! As I said before, I will be able to utilize the project that I developed in my Adaptive Prototyping course, directly to my work. This project idea has been something that I have been thinking about adapting to an online environment and through all of the courses I have taken thus far, I was able to fully design and realize it with the knowledge and skills I have gained at SF State.

This project is an online training for SMC faculty regarding the basic use of Canvas. There has definitely been a need for something like this on our campus, and I think our faculty will be happy to have this option. I still have some more work to do on it, but the idea and prototype have been created and my supervisor and a faculty mentor here at SMC are really excited with what I have produced so far.