Instructional Design Spotlight: Nancy Awad


Nancy recently joined the TechChange team as an Instructional Design fellow! She is a rising junior from Swarthmore College, where she studies Political Science and Peace and Conflict Studies.

We recently sat down with Nancy to learn more about her background and experience. Welcome to the team!

Q: So… how are your first weeks at TechChange going?

I am wrapping up my first two weeks at TechChange and they have been spectacular! I am learning how to use Articulate Storyline 360 to create online courses and I think I’m getting the hang of it! I look forward to the upcoming weeks ahead and to all the knowledge, skills, and experiences that I will gain here at TechChange.

Q: Could you share a bit about your background before joining the TechChange team?

My background mostly stems from being a teacher in other parts of the globe. Last summer, I worked at the Collateral Repair Project (CRP), an American NGO that provides aid services to urban refugees in a poverty-stricken neighborhood of Amman, Jordan. At CRP, I taught English to adult refugees and facilitated the children’s summer camp. My job included creating a well-paced curriculum for the beginner’s English class that I taught independently, as well as designing lesson plans for the children’s camp activities. Along with teaching classes, I facilitated conversations, proctored/graded tests, and corrected everyday homework. It was an immensely rewarding experience overall because I got to work with students who were genuinely eager to learn, and I was supporting a largely overlooked community in Amman. I also volunteered at an underprivileged community center during my time in Morocco, where I helped facilitate an after-school program for children. In most of these contexts, I have had to teach in environments where there is a lack of resources and materials. For example, there was never enough books for all the students in Amman so I would have to photocopy papers for everyone, and I constantly imagine how different the situation could have been if the information was digitized and the technological resources were more widely available. I think online learning is such a promising complement to traditional styles of learning in places all over the world, and it is why I am at TechChange!

Q: What originally interested you in joining TechChange?

Much of what the team does at TechChange aligns with the work I am trying to do next summer in southern Egypt as a Swarthmore Lang Scholar. My Lang Opportunity Scholarship (LOS) project, Agents of Resilience, aims to address the lack of educational/employment opportunities available to young orphaned women of the Coptic community (ethno-religious minority) as result of institutionalized religious persecution, societal stigma, lack of opportunities due to underdevelopment, and sexism. This project is meant to start a basic computer literacy mentoring program and certification process in the underdeveloped southern region of Egypt. In the hopes of keeping my project sustainable, I was assessing the feasibility of implementing online learning as a solution. When discussing my project and summer plans with some Swarthmore professors, one of them recommended that I look into TechChange for a fellowship. After talking with the CEO and connecting with some Swarthmore students who were already working there, I knew that this was where I wanted to be!

Q: How does Instructional Design fit into your interests?

As someone who is very interested in international development, I see huge potential in online learning as a method to help empower people all over the globe. I believe that once online learning is widely accessible, easy to navigate, and engaging to the learner, the possibilities for change are endless. I am interested in improving the education system in southern Egypt (starting with my project Agents of Resilience), and I think that eLearning is a good way to enhance and complement the system already in place.

Q: What is one thing that you’d love to learn or do this summer?

Along with decrypting all the secrets behind instructional design and curriculum building, I would love to spend time and learn from the other teams in the office as well. Everyone at TechChange has such a diverse skill set, and I think this is such a unique opportunity to learn from the people around me since TechChange makes it so easy for me to do so. At some point during my summer, I would love to learn from the creative and tech teams or delve deeper into fields that I know very little about like film/photography. Being at TechChange also means that I am constantly learning no matter what, even if it is from the courses that I am building, and I think that in itself is truly spectacular.

Q: Lastly, what’s something that not a lot of people know about you?

The birthday stated on all my official documents and forms of ID including my birth certificate is not my real birthday. I was actually born on March 22nd in the middle of the day but my mother really wanted me to be born on Egyptian Mother’s Day which is March 21st so she made it happen. Every year, I celebrate my birthday on the 21st (the date my mother fabricated), which is to say, I have fully embraced this scam.

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