Meg Goodine, KPU and member of SCETUG contributed this ETUG Member Profile of Sue Birtwell, Vancouver Community College (VCC).
Tell us a bit about where you work and the work you do.
I currently provide technical support for VCC’s online Family Literacy Program. I have also started a new project, “Techno Grannies”, providing computer consulting for seniors. Prior to that I developed and taught VCC’s Online/eLearning Certificate Program (for which Sue was recognized with an Excellence in Teaching Award).
How long have you been involved in teaching and learning and educational technology?
My background prior to teaching was as a programmer and systems analyst. I’ve taught computer business systems at BCIT, VCC, and Kwantlen. I began teaching online in 1997 and was an early user of WebCT. At Kwantlen, I taught online using their in-house learning management system, and later with Moodle. At Kwantlen, I was also involved in providing faculty support for Moodle.
What is one thing you really love about the work you do?
I find teaching online to be a very creative process that provides new ways to look at teaching and learning. I continue to love discovering and exploring new, cool tools to work with.
I enjoy teaching and mentoring other faculty members in using technology. I understand that change is difficult for a lot of people and society often makes people feel stupid about technology. Everyone has an area of expertise that needs to be acknowledged and we are all on a continuum of comfort with technology.
How long have you been a member of ETUG and what do you like best about this community and its activities ?
Since 2000, at least. Participating keeps me up-to-date and provides a network of expertise if I have a question. I really like hearing how others are using new tools and technologies.
I’m currently taking a course in the history of opera. I travel a lot and am planning a trip to India in November. I’m a dragon boater, runner, and theatre goer. I don’t want to get to the end of my life and say “if only….”.
(Sue prefers to use an avatar rather than a photo–this led to an interesting conversation about online identity and how the online space allows us to disclose only what we choose. Sue feels this allows people to be both freer and less judgemental.)
Tweety Bird always seems to be optimistic and full of energy. He also constantly outwits his nemesis Sylvester the cat.