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Meet Bob Byrne from The World Bank, Washington DC

20151125_115353Contributed by Leva Lee, BCcampus

Tell us a bit about where you work and what you do.
I started working at The World Bank in Washington, DC last year on September 8. The World Bank is a development organization established in the wake of World War II with the purpose of helping to rebuild Europe and Asia. Its main work now is helping the world’s poorest countries raise their standard of living. My position as Learning Specialist lets me use my background in e-learning to develop and deliver learning to the approximately 10,000 World Bank employees, one-third of whom are located in country offices worldwide.
How long been involved in teaching and Learning and ed technology?
Professionally, I’ve been involved in teaching and learning since 1989, starting with a supporting role on the “Year 2000 Program Team”, a group of curriculum developers in the BC Ministry of Education. I’ve worked in Japan, Victoria, Vancouver, Burnaby, Kamloops, and now Washington. My first ed tech project (in 1992, well before the average student had an Internet connection) involved installing an 8-modem card into an IBM PC, getting UVic telephone services to add 8 phone lines to my office, and installing BBS software on the computer to allow our distance students to dial up and message each other.
What’s one thing you really love about the work you do?
How about two things? One, I’m helping the world in a small way by advancing education (as are all of you). Two, there is always something new to learn. That can be challenging and sometimes tiring, but I never want it to end.
How long have you been a member of ETUG?
Honestly, I’m really not sure! I remember giving a presentation with UVic colleagues Katy Chan, Judy Somers, and Tim Smith at Harbour Centre, on desktop videoconferencing, and I still have my “Knowledge Network” umbrella that we received as a gift. A long time!
What do you like best about this community and its activities?
Every ETUG event I’ve been involved with has brought me in contact with intelligent, funny, and genuinely nice people, and I’ve never failed to learn something valuable.
Do you have a favorite ETUG memory?
Inviting the ETUG community to Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops has to be at the top. But I have many other great memories of collaborating with ETUG members and sharing the latest cool project we were working on. And the social events, of course. And the post-social event events – dingy bars, bad beer, and great company!
What would you like to ETUG provide more of in terms of benefits/value to members? Any input or help you want to ask members to provide?
ETUG already does so much! I have seen many ETUG related blog posts, but a blog owned by ETUG, with input from its community members, is something I would follow and contribute to. I find myself following fewer single-expert blogs and more community of practice blogs lately. I appreciate the richness of conversation, diversity of experiences, and multiple perspectives these types of spaces bring.
Do you have any special interests/hobbies?
I’ve started to document my experiences in Washington through panoramic photography. I haven’t released anything to the world yet, but the type of project I’m doing involves creating learning spaces within the 360-degree visual environment. Jon Fulton and I had started some projects at TRU (and also gave a presentation to ETUG), and I’ve brought that with me as a way to document and archive this new experience. You can see an example from TRU here: https://www.tru.ca/campus/visit/tours/virtual.html
Anything special you want to ask or share with members?
I want to acknowledge that the opportunities presented to me here in the Washington, DC wouldn’t have been possible without the help and support of the many colleagues I’ve worked with in BC, most of whom are ETUG members. If you ever make it to Washington, I am at your service! And there are two great opportunities coming up in November: E-Learn 2016 (November 14-16) and OpenEd16 (although I haven’t seen the announcement yet and I hope it’s not just a rumor).
For those of you interested in getting in touch with Bob, he can be reached at rbyrne@worldbank.org