I love my co-workers.

klingon

Here’s a little bit of light-hearted fun that popped up during the script development process for the research poster series I’m working on.  I’m so very tempted to reference Klingons in this video now, haha!

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A fun video I’d like to share!

I almost forgot this existed!  Last year, just before the Statewide IT conference, UITS Communications (I think) helped pull staff together to make this awesome video about the past twenty years in technology – and I’m in it!  (Wearing my well-loved Star Trek sweatshirt, of course.)

Five years at IT Training!

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Taken just after everyone moved into the CIB in August of 2011!

Today’s a special day for me – it’s been five years since I started at IT Training!  And oh, what a wonderful five years it’s been.  In the past five years here, I’ve…

  • been involved in some way, shape, or form in 340 workshops (either as an observer, assistant, or instructor)
  • worked as the administrative coordinator for two years, which was an interesting experience that allowed me to get a deeper understanding of what went on at IT Training than just assisting and instructing would do
  • written two workshops, five webinars, and edited so many workshops I can’t remember them all
  • held a number of job titles, including Administrative Coordinator, Workshop Instructor/Assistant, Senior Development Coordinator, Collaborative Learning Coordinator, Video Development Coordinator, Materials Coordinator, and my most favorite title: Senior IT Education Specialist.  And at any given point, I’ve held at least three of those titles. (Right now, I’ve got four job titles, technically!)
  • moved desks four times (hey, I had to find the place I’m the most productive in!)
  • learned to ride a scooter specifically to get to and from work with ease
  • transitioned from being an hourly staff member to a full-time professional staff member, something I’ve worked hard for!

After five years, I still love my job – I’m still excited to come in to work every day, to see what sorts new things I can learn, what I can teach others, and what other sorts of challenges await me.  Here’s to many, many more years at IT Training!

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A happy five years in a very decorated cubicle!

What is a research poster, anyway?

That’s what I’m trying to outline for a video series I’m working on, focusing on creating research posters.  And it’s turning out to be a weird question to answer – I mean, a research poster is pretty much a poster telling the story of some research, right?

It’s more than that, though.  It can serve as an abstract for your research.  It can highlight research methods for a project that’s in process.  It can stand in lieu of a presentation, or it can accompany you and help you tell the story of your research paper as you present.  It can help pique people’s interest, and get them caring about your research, or it can drive people away if it’s not designed well.

The designing is where my strengths come into play in this series – I love desktop publishing.  I could ramble on and on about how to lay out a poster in the perfect ways to get people interested and reading it.  I could go on forever about how to use contrast to grab attention, and proportion to make important items stand out.  But I only get one video to talk about that in this series – so I might just have to ramble about that here.

And I still have to talk about what a research poster is, and why you’d want to create one.  That’s where I’m at right now.  My notes are short and ridiculous, and I’m drawing a blank on things here.  Maybe I’ll go work on the layout and design video outline for a bit, and see if I can answer the question “what is a research poster?” in more detail than “it displays information on research”.

Goodbye, Edufont!

As I’m working on re-mapping paragraph styles today, I figured I’d post a quick entry showing the differences between what steps in IT Training’s materials looked like in Edufont, and what they look like with the new text variables.

Here’s what things looked like in Edufont…

edufontAnd now what they look like in the new text variables in the new template:

newactionAs you can see, much more accessible than Edufont, since the characters were glyphs and not actual text.  It’s taking some adjusting, needing to dig into the Variables panel in FrameMaker to add my clicks and double-clicks, but I think things look a lot cleaner in the new format – and it also makes it easier for people who need to view our materials with a screen reader.

I’ll miss you a little bit, Edufont, but I’m glad to be using our new variables! 🙂

I love XML.

Ever since my first experience with XML back in my first round of grad school, where Dr. Schneider described it as “choose your own markup language”, I’ve been fascinated by it.  And the more I learn about it, the more I enjoy working with it.  Putting an XML document together – creating the tags, the schema, and the markup process itself – is like assembling a puzzle.  And it’s a fun puzzle, too – making sure everything follows the rules set down in the schema, ensuring elements are properly nested, and going a step further and using XSLT to display it in a number of formats, I enjoy it all.

Which is why I’m ridiculously happy to be working on this internship, especially with IT Training.  I love my job – I teach and write IT workshops, and also work on the frameworks for delivering and developing collaborative workshops.  I’ve been with IT Training for nearly four years, and in that time I’ve been involved in nearly 400 workshops.  (I may have gone through my staffing history yesterday to see just how many workshops I’ve been in… what can I say, I love data)  I know most of our workshops inside and out, and being able to approach them from a different angle – going behind the scenes and working with the guts of our materials – is exciting.

Today, I’m likely going to spend most of my day wrangling XML in InDesign to try and get the few sets of materials that were created in InDesign exported to a more Framemaker friendly format.  (I love InDesign, too, haha)  I found out yesterday that it’s going to be a little more work than I’d originally anticipated, though, as some of the documents made in InDesign don’t actually have any tags associated with paragraph styles.  Once I can figure out if there’s a standard tag list lurking around in Framemaker or something similar, then I can start marking up the InDesign documents and get them exported!

I love my job.  And I love my internship.  And, of course, I love XML.