“So at the end of this day, we give thanks
For being betrothed to the unknown.”

― John O'Donohue The Torchbearer-an Anna Hyatt Huntington sculpture on the USC Columbia campus

The opportunity to reflect on my experiences in the Educational Technology program is an opportunity to embrace how far I have come and how much I feel that I have yet to learn. The path that brought me to the program had wound its way around, but never before to, the field of instructional design, giving me time along the way to build skills in graphic design and experience developing a wide range of information products. In earlier roles, I have developed training materials, but with no knowledge of formal instructional systems design. In completing them, I was drawing on largely self-taught technical skills but working without all that a considered, systematic approach brings to the instructional design process. It would be interesting, if possible, to begin those projects again, equipped with the knowledge of learning theories and technology best practices that I've gained through this degree.

There is however too much ahead to rethink past efforts. With organizations pressed to create and deliver high quality, effective instruction that makes the best use of today's technology, it is an exciting time to be studying and working in this field. In this program, I worked with the major e-learning and multimedia resources that are widely known, but equally important were the the numerous free and low cost resources, many of which are comparative newcomers, that I was able to discover and use. Benefitting from a strong programmatic commitment to the principles of universal design, I now know how to design instruction that is accessible by all learners. As a student in a completely online degree program, I have gained important insights into what it is like to be an online learner—both its advantages and frustrations—and going forward, I will use those experiences to inform the design and delivery of instruction in online environments. In project groups, I have had the opportunity to be both a team leader and a team member and as such, I have learned a great deal about what it takes to collaborate effectively in a virtual workspace. Through my internship, I experienced first-hand how challenging, rewarding, and ultimately essential it is to draw out of subject matter experts the unique wisdom that only they can add to what is known about a given topic.

There is also much left to learn. I am interested in aspects of instructional design that seem to challenge even experienced designers. These include how to bring precision to the identification and quantification of performance gaps, creating effective scenario-based instruction and assessment, and how best to measure instructional outcomes in meaningful terms that capture change in behavior and organizational benefits. Exactly how and in what context I will find the opportunity to do these things is an "unknown" to which I am, for now betrothed, but one that I am, thankfully, well prepared to meet.

Camilla D. Sudduth
April 15, 2013