“Who Says You Can’t Teach Old Dawgs New Tricks?”

I guess announcing the completion of my Master’s Degree in Communication now would be classified as “better late than never!”

After many months of work learning & Adobe Flash™, HTML, CSS, XML, and Actionscript, I was able to complete the requirements for my Closure Experience.  Overall, the project went fairly smoothly but longer than expected.   Probably the biggest upset that I experienced was that during the early production stages of the project, I accidently broke the USB drive that I was storing my work files on.  Luckily I managed to back-up many of my files so the damage to the progress of my project was minimized.  The project was a great experience and I had a lot of fun learning the in’s and out’s of Adobe Flash™.  It felt a little strange for me because I guess over the years I have become so accustomed to knowing so many different software titles (and being a constant resource for technical support and advice).  Being in a situation of feeling like a “noob” or newbie when it came to developing and troubleshooting was a bit unnerving for me.  Yet, as humbling of an experience it was, it was positive for me and I hope that in the near future, I can put that experience to good use.

Oh, “what is CHIMERA” you ask?  CHIMERA is a Flash™-based application prototype I developed for the UIS Information Technology Department to assist in inventory and facility support.  CHIMERA stands for Campus Technology Inventory Module – Interactive.  Simply put, the application works as a data asset management system where users can reference information about technology in ITS-supported facilities in either a map-based | text-based format plus an embedded search function…in a “Hollywood-style aesthetic design”.

I finished up the project & process paper in mid-July and met with the Master’s Project Committee members on July 25th. Everyone was pleased with the project and showed great potential.  Members signed off on the project and low & behold, five days later, it was official!  🙂  I’m still waiting to see the actual printed diploma…*sigh*

For the longest time, I’ve told everyone that as soon as I was done with my degree…I was done with school!  Maybe an occasional class if time permitted…

Little did I know that I would be going back to school soon!  But in this case, it was both a matter of interest AND technically “professional development” on my part.  I found out through a work colleague that another colleague was going to be teaching a iPhone/iPad App Development course (AND in a classroom right near my office!).  When I heard that, I felt it was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up.   So, trudging through the mess of admission and registration, I managed to get myself signed up for the course. The first couple of classes have been difficult because the style of programming is much different that what I have been used to.   BUT, we are being taught “old school” style in an attempt to understand what’s going on with the programming instead of relying on the WYSIWYG’s built into the application development software.  Once again, much like Flash™ and the CHIMERA prototype, it seems like there is a bit of a hurdle to jump at the beginning but I think things are going to get easier and more intriguing as the semester progresses.  🙂

Of course, now it’s almost getting to a point where my mind is starting to race…  Because of some changes in my job duties, I have an opportunity now to dive more deeply into some of the applications I have been using for a while (Flash™, Photoshop™, Dreamweaver™, Acrobat Pro™,  iLife™) as well as explore some other areas (3D Max, Adobe After Effects™, xCode, Final Cut Pro).  So while I’m learning, I’m also looking for ways I can implement new tools, resources, and methods in my workplace to make things more efficient (as my role of Multimedia Services Coordinator).  Right now, I’m hoping that these new-found skills and resources will provide me an opportunity to advance.

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