Just let me set the record straight…

Right now, I’m working very hard to finish up the coursework for my Master’s degree in Technical and Professional Communications. I’ve worked for two and a half years on this, studying part-time, usually taking two classes at a time, while most of the time working full-time while also being a parent to a special needs kid. It’s a lot of work, and it’s incredibly draining, but hopefully the fruits of my labor will pay off soon enough.

Part of one of my last classes is to present my e-portfolio of my professional and academic work for prospective employers.  I fought with my professor about my e-portfolio, because while I knew I needed to take the emphasis off the academic and put it in a more professional light, I really liked how I formatted it–it reflected my personality to a “T.”  She hated it, and made me reformat the whole thing. It was an incredibly laborious process, as I had to take something that took me two years to get it to where I wanted and liked it, and totally scrap it in favor of having something else together in a fraction of the time. I still wanted it to reflect my personality as well.  So, in trying to use some new software (Adobe Muse) to help me build it, I came up with something that I thought was pretty good. Visually, it was slicker looking, and while it didn’t have all the flexibility that I had in the old one, to paraphrase Project Runway’s Tim Gunn, I made it work. Even now, there are some very minor tweaks that need to be made, but I feel like I created a really good e-portfolio that prospective employers will respect and like.

Well, some smarty pants suggested to the professor that we get outside critiques for our e-portfolios before we present them for our upcoming capstone presentations and make them “public”. Sounds like a good idea in theory, but I wasn’t too keen on it. (Mine is already public, as far as I’m concerned.) I submitted mine for review. Overall, the reviews I received back were good, although it was hard to tell from the notes what was going on with some of it. First it criticized my navigation and menu choices, and then the next moment it praised it.

The part that actually stung me the most was that one critique told me to remove my blog page from the site, as the blog was mostly repostings of other articles. Yep, you guessed it, it referred to this blog. (I had also listed my academic blog, which I plan to integrate it with this one at some point.) I was royally TICKED. Yes, I know I am reposting things from other sites in here, but there is some original information in here too. I recently read a review of another very public e-learning blog site, and it was actually PRAISED for sharing articles from other sites as it made that particular blog current and showed that the blogger was sharing current thoughts and information. That’s exactly what I’m trying to do here!

Look, I know that I’m still a beginner at this m-learning and e-learning thing. I’ve blogged for many years on different subjects. I know the blogging game, believe me.

So let me set the record straight:

While this is a blog that reflects my personal interpretations on all things m-learning, e-learning and tech comm, I also am still learning about these subjects. I can’t write about the benefits of using some Lectora trick if I’ve never used Lectora. I can’t talk about e-learning pedagogy if I’ve never taken an instructional design course. I’ve learned things about e-learning “on the streets,” so to speak. I learned through experience, not through theory. I still have SO much more to learn, and I know it. I’ve never been in denial about that. But at the same time, the purpose of this blog is not only to share MY thoughts, but to also open up the forum and share information. I want to learn more from those who read this blog, who have more experience. I want other newbie e-learning and m-learning specialists to come here and share experiences and questions through the comments. Please, voluteer to guest blog on here–I’d love it! I’m trying to build this up as an m-learning/e-learning/tech comm community, so sharing articles that I think are helpful and useful WILL be posted. And as it is, my site stats actually went up once I started sharing these articles, so I don’t think I’m going down the wrong path.

So to the person who gave me that critique, I think you need to see the bigger picture, and read more blogs. The only impression I’ve ever had of the e-learning/m-learning community is that we share. As my husband would put it–we’re sharers. I haven’t seen it in any other field I’ve been in as much as I see it in the e-learning/m-learning world, and I’m happy and glad that this community has taken me into the fold.

So the next time you see an article that is just a repost from my ScoopIt account, please know that I post it because I want to share something that I don’t know well, yet find interesting and informational that I think others would benefit too.

And I’m not taking this blog off of my e-portfolio. I’m proud of what I’ve done here, and what I continue to do here. I still have big plans for this site. I’m working offline on the Educational Resources and Links items listed in the navigation above, and I have ideas for articles I want to write but can’t get to right now. I just stopped to write this…again, just to set the record straight. Keep watching this site…it’s only a month old, and it’s just getting started…

Just bear with me in the next two weeks, as I have to finish up this semester, and term papers from hell are calling me. Please keep me in your thoughts, hoping that I can make it through these next couple of weeks with my sanity intact. 😉

About TechCommGeekMom

Danielle M. Villegas is a technical communicator who has recently started her own technical communications consultancy, Dair Communications. She has worked at the International Refugee Committee, MetLife, Novo Nordisk, and BASF North America, with a background in content strategy, web content management, social media, project management, e-learning, and client services. Danielle is best known in the technical communications world for her blog, TechCommGeekMom.com, which has continued to flourish since it was launched during her graduate studies at NJIT in 2012. She has presented webinars and seminars for Adobe, the Society for Technical Communication (STC), the IEEE ProComm, TCUK (ISTC) and at Drexel University’s eLearning Conference. She has written articles for the STC Intercom, STC Notebook, the Content Rules blog, and The Content Wrangler as well. You can learn more about Danielle on LinkedIn at www.linkedin.com/in/daniellemvillegas, on Twitter @techcommgeekmom, or through her blog.
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