Staff Spotlight: Carrie Lindeman
This month, we’re spotlighting our newest team member, learning designer Carrie Lindeman! In the post below, Carrie tells us more about herself and her first two months working at Distance Learning.
How long have you worked here? How did you come to join the DL team / get involved in distance education?
I’ve worked on the DL team for two months. I’ve been an instructional designer for over 8 years and have worked in a combination of higher education and industry. I’m happy to have found myself here at Northwestern with the SPS DL team, and everyone has been so welcoming.
Describe your typical “Day in the Life.”
My work day is a wonderful balance of collaborative time (meetings) and relaxing independent work. I usually have 2-3 meetings a day, where I chat with my instructors or instructional technologists about the courses I’m working on. In between those meetings, I am able to work through course material and build in Canvas.
I am often interrupted in the middle of the day by my dog, Nellie, begging for a walk, but it is a welcome interruption to give my brain time to process. I also really enjoy spending time in my office, which doubles as my craft room. I’m surrounded by art that I’ve either made or picked out, and it is a mood booster!
A special day-in-the-life would include adventuring around DC and Maryland. My partner, Ezra, and I enjoy seeing shows at the Kennedy Center, National Theater, and other local performance spaces.
What’s something about your job that might surprise readers?
When I describe my job to other people, they are most often shocked that I’m able to do this without being a subject matter expert. They say something along the lines of, “I wouldn’t even know where to begin creating a course on accounting.”
I would reply to them that they wouldn’t necessarily know where to begin when developing a course for something, even if they know the subject very well! It is not common knowledge how to teach and organize material in a way that is best for learners. I can come into that dynamic with an educational background and add a lot to a course experience, regardless of my subject matter knowledge.
What’s your favorite resource or tool that not many people know about?
I’m a huge fan of Airtable. It is the first tool I’ve used that has mastered the one-to-many record–keeping for someone that isn’t trying to build a whole database. I use it at other institutions and to track personal projects and records. I’m looking forward to incorporating it into my work practices as a learning designer at Northwestern.
What’s the most unusual job you’ve ever had? Did it give you any interesting takeaways?
My most unusual job was writing AP Computer Science test prep questions for a company called Shmoop. They focus on creating high school education materials that are written in a casual, youthful, and humorous voice. This was such a fun job for me to live out my dreams of being a comedian and a computer science teacher! It was difficult to find ways to make “object-oriented programming” hip, but we did our best.
My key takeaway was that language really matters when someone is trying to learn something new. While I don’t think adding a pop-culture-reference-ridden joke is the way to achieve great learning, I do think that adding creative metaphors and taking out unnecessary jargon is vital to the learning experience.
The Distance Learning team is part of the Northwestern School of Professional Studies (SPS). To keep up with news, staff spotlights, online education insights and more, subscribe to the DL newsletter (The DL Digest) and check out the rest of the Distance Learning blog!