Prior to joining Educational Services, I used Esri software as a GIS analyst at the Center for Urban Transportation Research at the University of South Florida. In addition, as part of my graduate work, I taught several geography courses including GIS. I came on board in 2008 as an educational specialist and about two and a half years later was promoted to mobile/server technical lead.
The primary role of an educational specialist is to author training materials, both web courses on the Virtual Campus and instructor-led courses taught in person. My position gives me an opportunity to use my technical knowledge and my experience as an educator. We research what the best practices are from not only a technological standpoint but also a conceptual perspective. For example, one of the courses I wrote is Authoring and Serving ArcGIS Mobile Projects. My job was to determine what people need to know from start to finish to create a mobile project that's going to work well and then break it down into individual pieces that become lessons. Once that was done, I wrote course exercises and workbook materials and developed demos for instructors to use. As one of the technical leads, I provide support to other educational specialists for questions regarding content, problems they're having with the technology, and helping them connect to others throughout the company.
As someone who had been a customer for seven years, both as an analyst and an instructor, I knew that Esri technology worked. I didn't want to work here only because Esri is the world leader in GIS. I had familiarity with the product. As an analyst, I had put it into real-world applications that helped create transit development plans. I had helped students on projects that were integral to their thesis and dissertation work. And I'd been to the User Conference twice as a customer, where I was able to talk with other users and hear their impressions about the company. I was able to talk with Esri employeesthey all were happy and seemed to really enjoy what they did. They were passionate about what they did. That makes a huge impression.
I work with many other groups throughout the company such as Product Marketing, Product Management, Support Services, and Software Development. There is contact throughout course development to make sure that what we're putting out is conceptually accurate and appropriate. We usually start course development at beta 1 or beta 2, and then we keep developing materials throughout the life of that release. The process starts again with the next release.
I like to sell ideas. That's really what an educator does: pass on knowledge. I know the work I'm doing is passing on knowledge, not just to our users but to people inside the company as well. At the end of the day, what makes me feel good is realizing that a lot of my time was spent helping other peopleour customers, other educational specialists, other instructorsdo their job. They don't know how to solve a problem. I can help them. I can impart knowledge.
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