This post was written by Nicolas Mindreau, Senior Instructional Designer and Course Editor for the Instructional Design Team in the Digital Learning Department. Nicolas graduated in 2001 from Berklee with a degree in Music Production & Engineering. He is also a psychologist, and has worked in Bilingual Publishing in the Boston area.
It is easy to take for granted that we are always learning, especially when we think we are officially done with formal education. We get our degree and off we go, thinking: “I’m done with this studying business. Let’s do the real thing now.”
I’m a Berklee MP&E graduate and, as many others, I went to pursue some opportunities in the recording industry. After some very valuable experiences in the Big Apple, and for some circumstances that I couldn’t foresee, I found myself working at a publishing company as a bilingual editor—a job that I thought would last for a few months. It turned out to be a six-year gig.
After my publishing adventure, I landed a position at Berklee, working as an audio and notation assistant for the PULSE website. A few years and positions later, I find myself in the editorial domain again, as one of the Instructional Designers in the Digital Learning Department. It’s something I never imagined would happen after finishing Berklee—that I would be helping teachers (some familiar faces from my younger years) build online courses for the college.
In the year or so that I’ve been in this position, I have learned three important things. It’s funny but I think that these life experiences I went through were as important as my student years at Berklee, and the life lessons I learned can be applied to the course design field.
First of all, there is something new you can learn from everybody (and this is regardless of the academic level that the people you interact with possess), because it depends on your attitude and your skill to comprehend what is out there. And by that, I mean your ability to discover something new in things that we feel we are too familiar with, and therefore, they seem to bring nothing new for us.
Second, never be afraid to state the obvious in educational matters. A good example of this is defining learning outcomes and objectives. They seem easy to do, obvious to state, but after some analysis, we sometimes discover that the instruction doesn’t actually meet the stated objectives and the objectives don’t actually drive the content of the courses we are designing (thank you Sue Lindsay for this one!!!) And well defined objectives are crucial, since they are the parameters for teachers and students to know if they are getting where they want/need to be. Otherwise, it would be like sailing without a map.
And the last thing, we never stop learning. I know everybody is aware of this, but believe me: we forget. This is tied to the first thing I mentioned; when we forget that we are constantly learning, we close opportunities for learning new things from others. Even though it’s obvious, the hardest thing I find in education is to stay open and curious as a little child. Anyway, isn’t that what we are here for?
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