Thursday, January 25, 2007

What I need to know

In talking to people over the last few weeks--and really years, I guess--I've noticed that people don't always understand not only what I do, but the broad knowledge I have, and feel I need, in order to do my job effectively. So I just wanted to put this down off the top of my head:
  • A variety of software applications, including but not limited to:
    • iMovie
    • Flash
    • Dreamweaver
    • Photoshop
    • Word Processing
    • Spreadsheet
    • Camtasia (screen recording)
    • Cleaner (video and audio file conversion)
    • Audacity and/or Garageband
    • Acrobat professional
    • iPhoto
    • Skype
    • iChat and AIM
    • PowerPoint
    • A variety of web browsers
    • Blackboard and other course management systems
    • Drupal and other blogging platforms
    • CD and DVD burning software
    • FinalCut pro
    • Picassa
    • Illustrator
    • QuickTime
    • OpenOffice
    • GIMP (linux-based photo editor)
  • HTML and CSS
  • An understanding of how our Student Information System works (PeopleSoft)
  • A general understanding of databases. I have actually created a simple database-driven web site, but I wouldn't want to do that on a regular basis. It's harder than it looks.
  • Knowledge of the field of educational technology. I need to know the latest research and understand what experts say about the effects of technology on learning. Best practices in integrating technology into different disciplines
  • Basic understanding of instructional design. People get whole degrees in this, but I understand the basic principles. We don't actually do instructional design, really, at our institution.
  • Understanding of web design principles and standards.
  • RSS, XML
  • Some system administration skills--modifying the apache configuration, setting file permissions.
  • A smidge of php.
  • How to use search effectively. I can't tell you how many times Google has helped me solve a difficult problem.
  • Various web 2.0 applications
    • Blogger
    • Odeo
    • del.icio.us
    • furl
    • flickr
    • linkedin
    • facebook
    • youtube
  • An understanding of how above applications are affecting education and learning
  • Excellent writing and communication skills, especially the ability to communicate technical information to non-technical people.
  • All three major operating systems--Mac, Windows, and Linux
  • Streaming media creation and serving
  • How to connect various hardware--digital cameras, scanners, palms, iPods--to various kinds of computers.
  • How to scan slides, photos, and documents into appropriate formats and at appropriate quality levels.
There's lots more, I'm sure. But I think sometimes faculty (and others) who tend to have a narrow area of knowledge don't quite understand the scope of what I do. Many, many people believe I have one of two areas of expertise. And while it's true that I have a greater depth of knowledge in some areas over others, I still need an understanding of things (like system administration) that I'll never be an expert in. I feel that this broad knowledge is not something that's always valued in academe--at least not on the faculty side. But maybe I'm wrong about that?