Congratulations, Carrie Cuy, Distance Education Specialist, UC Berkeley, for winning one of the $75 gift cards from the drawing UC IT Blog survey* participants last month. On the occasion of this celebration, thank you for offering to share this e-interview with us today. It was fascinating to hear you describe “accessibility” as the technical skill that is most important to you, learn more about your supportive team (pictured below), and how you balance the technical and creative sides of your work, managing an Learning Management System (LMS) and beyond.
1. Tell us about you and your career at UC (or before that). Where have you been and where are you headed, who/what influenced your journey?
I joined the Technology and Instructional Design team at California Social Work Education Center, CalSWEC, in July 2020. CalSWEC is part of the School of Social Welfare at UC Berkeley, and its mission is to support statewide partnerships for the education and training of social workers throughout California. Having previously worked in administrative roles at American University and Harvard University, it was an exciting opportunity to move into a more ed tech-oriented position related to instructional design.
2. Are there any skills and/or diversity factors that are important to you that you can share with the community?
Accessibility! We put accessibility at the forefront of our work and try to ensure that everything – course materials, e-learnings, videos, website, learning management system, et cetera – is built accessibility from the start. Not only is it good practice, but making accessibility part of the design process benefits everyone and saves time and resources later on.
3. What do you find most meaningful about your work?
I appreciate how supportive and collaborative my CalSWEC and UC colleagues are. There’s such a willingness to share ideas, tools, and experiences. Some examples of this are UC Berkeley’s Instructional Design staff group and the annual ATXpo Conference, which covers various topics in educational technology.
4. What is a typical day or week like for you?
My typical day usually involves a mix of technical and creative work. On the technical side, I help support our learning management system (our team manages a Learning Management System (LMS) that delivers trainings to social welfare workers throughout California). I also work on projects like toolkit updates, accessibility reviews, and website maintenance. On the creative end, my day might involve work developing or redesigning an e-learning, meeting with subject matter experts to discuss modalities for training delivery, and/or testing new technologies such as AI and Virtual Reality (VR) training tools. I appreciate the mix of technical and creative work and the ability to interact with a diverse group of people both internal and external to UC.
I primarily work from home, so in terms of routine, I make sure to get outside and “touch grass” at least once a day. If I’m stuck on a problem or project, I like to reset by going for a jog at lunch or working in our community garden plot.
5. Are there any current trends that you think will be important/people should know about or look forward to?
Of course, AI is on everyone’s mind these days. Our team is exploring ways to utilize AI technology for time-saving tasks like taking meeting notes and generating imagery and graphics for learning materials. We’re also working with a team from the University of Utah that uses VR scenarios to train social workers on things like in-home visits, which is an exciting application of VR.
Distance Education Specialist, Technology and Instructional Design
California Social Work Education Center (CalSWEC)
University of California, Berkeley
*The UC IT Blog Survey opened up for all UC staff as well through August 30, 2023 at noon. For those who did not complete the survey distributed to the UC Tech community last month, complete the survey now for a chance to win a $75 gift card and more.