Instructional Design Spotlight: Shannon Fineran

Shannon Fineran

A veteran Instructional Designer with the TechChange team, Shannon Fineran recently shared some of her experiences over the last year with TechChange.

Q: Could you share a bit about your background? What originally interested you about joining TechChange?
I’ve always had a great interest international affairs and relations, and after spending a year in the classroom I came to really appreciate education and effective teaching methods. I was intrigued by TechChange’s model and mission to make education accessible and engaging. Their work aligned really well with my interests and background and I thought it would be a perfect place for me to work.
Q: What are some of the projects that you’ve worked on? Has there been anything particular that you’ve enjoyed or found interesting?
This year I’ve worked on a number of great topics, about everything from gender and finance to international peacebuilding. One of my favorite projects has definitely been the one we just wrapped up on gender and sexual diversity. Not only was the material incredibly interesting, but the course itself was literally changing people’s as they became empowered and educated.
Q: I understand you did some travelling this year for a project. What was that like? How did it affect your approach as an Instructional Designer?
Another great project I’ve been working on is about climate change adaptation. As a part of it, two of my colleagues and I traveled to Mozambique to gain some greater context for the course and to conduct a series of interviews with key stakeholders. The trip was intense, but very rewarding. Mozambique is an incredible place that I never thought I’d visit, so I was grateful for the chance to explore. And more importantly, our trip gave me a better understanding of the course material and importance and I think it definitely shows in the final product.
Q: The number and quality of courses being created by the instructional design team is amazing. What does this look like on the project level?
We spend a lot of time and effort to work closely with the client to make sure we can envision what they need. From there, we’ll look to projects past or to each other for ideas on interesting interactions. While usually are individually assigned projects, but often we’ll work collaboratively to take them to the finish line.
Q: What’s the team like? What are your favorite parts about working at TechChange?
Our team is small and close, and more like a family than anything else. We each have different strengths that make I’m constantly impressed and inspired by my colleagues. They push me to improve my own skills and think outside the box to build the best courses possible. On a similar note, one of the best parts of working at TechChange is the people. I can’t believe I get to work with such brilliant, fun, and innovative individuals!
Q: What is one thing that you’d love to learn or do in the next year?
I really love photography and videography and I’d like see how I can improve those skills and use them as an instructional designer.
Q: Lastly, what’s something that not a lot of people know about you?
When I was in 8th grade, a local radio station read a poem I wrote aloud.

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