Monthly Archives: December 2011

A Big Picture Perspective Guarantees Overall Success

Towards the end of 2010 I was confronted with the reality of leaving the State of Ohio, a place I had grown to call home; a place where I spent my formative years. I accepted a position at the University of Colorado at Boulder as an Academic Technology Consultant (ATC). A place with a strong reputation for excellence and quality education, whereby students are valued, appreciated, and celebrated, and as such I could not resist the offer. Beyond the university’s reputation, the position offered another opportunity to grow personally and professionally in the exciting and complex world of higher education.

I joined a dynamic team of professionals working on various projects intended to accelerate teaching, learning, research, and innovation in various domains such as Learning Management Systems (LMS), Web Development, Data Visualization, Mobile Computing as well as Content and Resources Development. As I came on board we agreed as a team to provide integrated set of services to enable timely and effortless access to resources. All this was possible because we managed the campus community expectations as a service department. Managing the users expectations became an obvious ingredient to achieve long-term quality of service and the community of scholars’ satisfaction. As a team we had to make fuzzy expectations precise, implicit expectations explicit and unrealistic expectations realistic.

The presence of ATCs within the Office of Information Technology (OIT) provided a different mix of capabilities to transform projects being implemented in the office. As a team we provided a big picture perspective to ensure overall success of any projects, as we were always on the ground working with the end users. Becoming part of the ATCs’ group opened my eyes about the importance of listening and basing decisions on user’s needs and expectations. Our presence in the OIT office afforded any project access to just-in-time user’s experience, which is very important as successful projects are measured on user’s satisfaction. I felt like an agent of meaningful and realistic expectations.

My confidence grew and I started offering insights on a new LMS functionality, bottlenecks, faculty experience and perception on the system. That led to a new role in the project as a Solution Architect to minimize undesirable consequences in a long run. Beyond all the technical know-how and working with my dynamic team I have to manage relationships upward for personal and political reasons. My experience has been great because I always remember that I am working to achieve the best possible results for myself, my superiors, the OIT department, and the institution; this big picture does guarantee our success.



Searching for stones on waterless holes: cutting through financial hurdles for the reincarnation of the mind

Tweet My parents’ named me ‘Gcobani’ (meaning ‘happy’ in English) because for them I was their ‘miracle baby’ that they were happy to receive. My mother was already in her early forties when she gave birth to me, whereas my father was sitting just three years shy of 50 years. I never consciously thought about… Continue Reading

Nerdy pleasures: negotiating vulnerability and fidelity to the perpetual question

Tweet Anyone who knows me well will most probably be aware of my intense admiration for the work and scholarly output of feminist scholar and cultural critic bell hooks. This is particularly because of hooks’ idea of ‘education as a practice of freedom’. It came as no surprise to many of my friends therefore that… Continue Reading

Studying in Europe

Tweet Studying abroad has been an enriching and eye-opening adventure, one that has helped me mature, personally and intellectually. The experience has provided an opportunity to travel and has been an optimal way to immerse myself in French culture and to learn the language. In fact, with this form of learning that extends beyond classroom… Continue Reading

Library, Coffee and Passion

Tweet Choosing to study further, at Masters level is rarely complicated at the beginning. While you’re busy with your coursework, presentations, and seminar papers, you tend to forget that at the end of it all, you have to submit something, on some topic or other that may or may not advance the cause of academia,… Continue Reading

You gotta have an awesome boss

Tweet It is hard to believe that a year has passed since I started my job as the Assistant Director for the African Studies Program here at Ohio University. I was formally appointed to the position in August 2010 and only started working full time in November 2010. The hold up? United StatesImmigration. Those few… Continue Reading