Rachel Reiss: Where are you from, and where are you now?
Ester Muñoz Aparicio: I am from southern Spain, but live in Finland with my family since 2011. Before that, I was coming a going in between the two countries for quite a few years (since 98), when I was an exchange student in Finland and love knocked on my door. At this moment I work for eLearning Media, one of the Blackboard Spanish partners, trying to keep our clients as happy as possible with their products, by helping them with problems that may arise, all sort of customizations or made-to-measure training sessions.
RR: You have been in tech support, training, administration, sales engineering, consulting, and course design – which has been your favorite role?
EA: I would say support and consulting. I love solving problems, and these give me an opportunity to make a living out of something I truly enjoy. Course design is also a nice thing to do and training adults is fun.
RR: You’ve worked for public universities, private companies, and the government. Which has been your best experience?
EA: They all have been great both professionally and personally (I still have friends in all of them), but the most interesting without a doubt was working for ESPA, an institution in Andalusia where firemen, policemen and other emergencies personnel is trained. I was administrating their LMS, designing their courses and helping users to get 100% out of their platform. Interesting courses, interesting people.
RR: Has your online course design been only for online courses? Or for the purpose of blended learning?
EA: Both online and blended. Police can’t learn how to deal with certain situations on line :-)
RR: Have you noticed any cultural differences in course design within the different countries you’ve lived in?
EA: Yes. Spain is in general more traditional, courses usually are based in lots of content and tests, while Finland uses a lot more online resources, giving you links and pointers, and evaluation through reflecting what you have learned in forums or a paper.
EA: Well, if you are lucky, you get to choose what you do, and with who, but if you are not, you’ll have to take all the jobs that come. It is a bit risky as every month is different, you might have 3 projects in the same month or none at all. Luckily I had a long term agreement with one client so a minimum of my hours were covered.
As a plus, I would say working from home was (and still is) a blessing, and being able to choose when and where I work is great.
RR: Community Site – what is your favorite part?
EA: The ideas area. It’s wonderful that a company listens to their clients and give them a space to openly propose and discuss new features and improvements to their products.
EA: If life gives you lemons, make lemonade
(I try to always find the positive side of things)