Online Learning and Job Hunting — From the Perspective of a “Digital Immigrant” – Part 1

By Alan Vitello - June 1st, 2018

In this two-part blog post series, CSU-Global student and self-proclaimed “digital immigrant” Alan Vitello recalls his experiences with adapting to online learning and looking for a job — for his first time in 30 years — but now in the digital landscape.

In Part 1, Vitello tells us how he adapted to modern technology to succeed as a CSU-Global student.

I’m in my last Communications class, here at Colorado State University – Global Campus. One of the very first ideas that I was introduced to at CSU-Global was that “high tech” is becoming increasingly common in our world. Social media — and the analytics and SEO that drive it — are redefining communications. We are now living in an app-driven world. Whether we are ordering a rideshare or a pizza, or applying for a job, many things are now predicated on the digital world and our digits, as in, our thumbs.

When I was growing up, it seemed that everyone just had a telephone. It was no big deal; it was a telephone. It was an invisible part of the everyday world in which we lived. I was born in 1962, nearly a century after Alexander Graham Bell called out for Watson. If I had been born in – oh, say – 1892, that phone on the wall wouldn’t have been quite so ubiquitous. It would have been weird.

Today, there are those who are “digital natives,” as the saying goes, and those – like me – who are “digital immigrants.” For those of us who are immigrants, online learning presents a two-fold challenge: First, because it’s school, after all, there’s the actual course content to master. That part is pretty straightforward.

Then, there’s the second, bigger, challenge. Not only do digital immigrants, such as myself, have to master the course material, we have to master the modern tools of the course material. In other words, while I’m learning about Communications, I am also learning to navigate the tools of online learning and online creation.

When I first faced these challenges, I reminded myself that there’s a reason why I sought out this degree, and that reason was to propel myself in a new professional direction. I am attempting to find a new job. The quest for new employment also raises technologically related issues: In 2018, a job hunter needs to own job hunting technology. Once I land that awesome, new job, that new employer is going to expect me (“Mr. New Employee”) to jump right in without a great deal of training or hand-holding.

Luckily, the CSU-Global learning platform, Schoology, is fairly easy to navigate. It’s some of the tools used to create assignments that have proven to be more of a challenge. For example, one class assignment required me to master something called “Bag the Web” to complete it. What in the world is “Bag the Web”?! That same class required me to use a website called “Prezi” to create a little animated slideshow. “Prezi”?! What is “Prezi”?! I’ve used Animaker to create a two-minute animated feature, and I’ve created my own website on Wix — all for class assignments.

Well, it turns out that I can learn new stuff. With a little bit of luck and a lot of trial and error, I figured out what these tools were and mastered them.

It’s not magic, and it’s not, simply, inherent talent. Mastering new technologies is simply about learning to use a new tool. It’s learning to learn to make the extraordinary ordinary.

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