Abu, tell us a bit about your background before Alison
I hail from Chennai, the capital city of Tamil Nadu, India. I did my undergrad in Physical Education and I then moved on to complete my master’s degree in Library and Information Science from Alagappa University. I then pursued my PhD in the same discipline from Bharathidasan University. I worked as a librarian at Murugappa Polytechnic College, Chennai for nearly four years. At present, I am working as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Library and Information Sciences, Central University of Punjab, India. I am also a qualified umpire for the Tamil Nadu Cricket Association.
How did you discover Alison, and what was your experience as a learner?
My PhD topic was concerned with e-learning for library and information science students. I needed to create an e-learning platform to deliver my course content to the target audience and to be able to assess their performance, as well as the effectiveness of the course. I started looking for existing e-learning initiatives across the globe. This is where I came to know about Alison. I fell in love with the interface and started using it to enhance my knowledge on certain topics and skills. As a learner, the interface is well designed and easy to use, the content is specific and the use of multimedia is enriching. As a whole, I would rate this platform highly.
Why did you pursue the chance to become an Alison Contractor?
As mentioned, my PhD topic was related to e-learning and I am a great fan of open access resources because not many people can afford the cost of accessing scholarly content. Hence, when I received the email regarding the chance to become an Alison contractor, I liked the idea and thought I would give it a try. I thought that, if I get selected, I can contribute something beneficial to learners across the globe. This is the least I can do as researcher, teacher and lifelong learner.
How did you find the remote Contractor training?
To be honest, I thoroughly enjoyed each and every phase of the training. The training was so well planned, starting from the basics of e-learning, an overview of the publishing tool and finally designing a test course that meets the standards of Alison. I enjoyed all the phases and took it one at a time. In the end, I learned a lot about different aspects of e-learning and course designing.
What was the first course you published on Alison?
My first course published on Alison was the Diploma in Effective Writing Skills. I followed the instructions given to me and formatted the contents according to the requirements of Alison. I have to thank Kieran [Alison’s Instructional Designer] here because this was my first course and whenever I had a query, he was so friendly and would guide me accordingly. This made me feel relaxed and helped me to focus on the course. When the course appeared on the Alison website, I was filled with joy. It came out very well and has a good number of learners enrolled in it.
How has your decision to work for Alison affected your career path?
It has been a dream come true for me. As a researcher and teacher myself, it was a god-send as I learned about e-learning in-depth – the principles to follow while creating e-content and how to use different media to make the course livelier. In this pandemic, most teachers have to resort to the use of online platforms. With the knowledge and experience I gained and am still gaining from Alison, I relish designing online content and online teaching now.
What’s the best part of working as an Alison Contractor?
I have a doctorate in the field of library and information sciences, but I have designed courses on thermodynamics, service marketing and so on. While designing a course outside my discipline, I learn about these concepts. Alison has exposed me to different domains of knowledge and as a library professional, I love that. For me, this is the best part and I’m looking forward to working in more diverse disciplines.
If you could publish course that would teach the world, or yourself, anything, what would it be?
As a teacher, researcher and library professional, I see different types of learners with diverse information needs. In this digital era, anyone can access information with the help of the internet and most users just rely on Google and Wikipedia. This can result in plagiarism among students and researchers as they lack the knowledge in crediting the owner of the original source. Hence, these are the course I would like to bring into the world: Information Literacy Skills in the Digital Era (The ability to identify, locate, use, and evaluate information); Academic Writing and Search Strategies (The differences between assignments, term papers and research papers. How to search the internet, various types of searching techniques, how to ensure the information is authentic and so on); Plagiarism and Publication Ethics. (Concepts of plagiarism, types of plagiarism, need for referencing and citing, tips to avoid plagiarism and ethical practices of research.)