Personal Introduction

Hello world!

I’ve had this blog for a year now, but I’ve never formally introduced myself (although I do have an “About Me” page that you can see here).  I created this web space as part of an assignment I was given while working on my Master’s degree in the Information and Learning Technologies program at the University of Colorado – Denver.  My name is TiAn and it’s pronounced like Lee-Ann, but with a “T”.  Nice to meet you!

I was born and raised in south Florida and I moved to Colorado when I was 18 to attend Fort Lewis College, the “Campus in the Sky.”  After changing my major six times, I graduated with a degree in English and a minor in Art.  This means that I am an Oxford comma fan and I love ALL things creative!

There is no other way…only the Oxford comma way!

After college, I migrated eight hours north, just outside of Denver, where I’ve worked at Constant Contact for the last five years.  I started out taking inbound phone calls every day, helping customers with their online marketing needs using our products.  After four short months, I promoted to our Sales team and enjoyed a short stint there for six months, until I promoted again to our Training Team.

I wrote posts for the company blog, internal and external FAQ’s, and created step-by-step instructions that would walk our customers through using our products.  After eight months of doing that, I joined our New Hire Training Team where I have been a Learning Specialist for the last three years.  I’ve been given several great opportunities within my role and it has majorly evolved over the years.

My first day ever facilitating at work. It feels like forever ago now!

What started as a coordinator position now consists of me being a facilitator, instructional designer, eLearning designer, and the ‘owner’ of our Core onboarding program.  Because everything I know about what I do has been self-taught, I decided to take advantage of my company’s tuition reimbursement program and enroll in grad school.  Who can say no to a free Master’s degree?  Certainly not me!

Taking two courses at a time and working full-time definitely interferes with my stronger desires to spend all of my time with my husband and our extremely active and undeniably adorable, two-year-old daughter.  When I’m not working on work-work or school work, I am usually out hiking in our incredible Colorado mountains, cooking something up in the kitchen to post on my food blog, or traveling around this beautiful country.

The view from the top of Horsetooth Reservoir in Fort Collins, Colorado.

I’m proud to say that when I do anything, I do it with all my might…with everything I’ve got in me. But being so engaged in so many things has led me to take on a burden of stress that I am still learning how to deal with.  I’ve started writing in a daily gratitude journal and I do a 10 minute “quiet-sit” every morning.  Some may call that meditating, but I have yet to learn how to force my mind to focus.  But I’ll get there!

My ability to fully engage in what interests me has served me well in my Master’s program, but I definitely look forward to when I’m finished with school work!  This fall I’ve started two new courses, Self-Paced eLearning Modules and Research in Information and Learning Technologies.  Both of the instructors are new to me, but I am very, very excited for everything I’ll be learning this semester.  Since I am self-taught with everything I do at work, I look forward to the confidence I’ll gain from having an academic background in my field.  My gut instincts have served me well, but it’s time to back them up with real knowledge and experience!

For our first assignment in the Research course, we did an introductory activity where we generated research questions to help us figure out what we might want to research.

Generating Research Questions Activity from INTE 6720: Research in ILT.

Using 30 words, 10 of which were given and 20 which were chosen by me, here are 15 research questions I came up with (my ‘chosen’ words are bolded):

  1. How does empathy affect learning and engagement?
  2. How can cross-functional teams collaborate on unified portfolios?
  3. What are some best practices for utilizing media when designing onboarding programs?
  4. How can entertainment motivate learning?
  5. What cultural differences impact the creation of an effectively designed learning module?
  6. How can emotional intelligence facilitate a culture that promotes professional development?
  7. How can leadership create engagement among employees?
  8. In what ways does cross-functional education bring about professional development?
  9. How can a community setting create a positive work culture?
  10. Who are the key players in creating an effective onboarding experience?
  11. What are the benefits of educating employees on emotional intelligence?
  12. How can leadership participate in creating a positive work culture?
  13. How can volunteering in the community be used to inspire learning?
  14. What methods can be used to motivate employees to participate in professional development?
  15. Why is it important to utilize a design portfolio?

Based on these questions, I feel it must be evident that I am very interested in company culture, professional development, emotional intelligence, adult learning, and how to motivate/inspire learning.  The questions that stand out most to me are numbers 6, 7, 8, 9, 11, 12, 13, and 14. I’m also excited to learn more about action research (and terrified as I’d never even heard the term until I began this Research course!) and see how it affects my work going forward.  Outside of my school work, I’m looking to learn the following (although I doubt these questions can be used in my Research course):

  1. How can I convince my husband that a selfie stick is not am embarrassing “tourist identifier” but a practical photography tool that eliminates the awkward-angled-selfie-look (and double chin)?
  2. How do I potty train a tempestuous, stubborn, and freakishly smart two-year-old?
  3. And how do I trick my taste buds into liking eggplant, zucchini, and squash?  (Bleh!)

Thank you for reading!

(Want more?!  You do?!  Here is my philosophy on teaching and lifelong learning!)