Christine Mullins is one of Saylor’s Education Project Managers. We have to thank her and the education team for their committed work in delivering high-quality learning materials for our students. Christine is a Georgetown University graduate, a lifelong learning advocate, and a valuable member of the Saylor team. Read her story below!
Saylor Academy: Tell us about yourself. What is your professional background? How long have you been with the team at Saylor?
Christine: I joined in April of 2016. I went to college at Georgetown, and I’ve stayed in Washington ever since. I studied international politics, then graduated and was trying to find out what I wanted to do for a while. I did an internship at the National Wildlife Federation and National Public Radio, which allowed me to hone in on what I wanted to do. Then I got a job at the Instructional Technology Council and was soon named executive director. I reported to a board of directors from colleges all over the country.
ITC was an affiliated council of the American Association of Community Colleges, so we represented the community colleges that had distance learning programs. Community colleges were the leaders in this field because most of their students are working or caring for others learning from home. They could not physically get to campus during working hours. Distance learning provided a way for students to earn their college degrees. The first students took telecourses, pre-produced video programs. As online came into vogue and computers were more affordable, online learning took off. So I was kind of there in the infancy of online courses, which was great. It was really interesting, I was always busy, and I met a lot of people who were always looking for cool ways to help students.
SA: Can you tell us about your job here? What is it that you do at Saylor Academy?
CM: I began working at Saylor on a project that created 57 course learning modules for Thomas Edison State University. Since that project ended in 2018, I have been working with faculty members to create study guides and update the courses Saylor offers. I do a lot of editing, writing, contracting faculty members to create the course material, and then I upload the material to our website."We [Saylor Academy] reach thousands of students every day so I really feel like I am contributing to the education of people around the world. That's always been something that is important to me. " – Christine Mullins Click To Tweet
SA: Tell us what does the typical workday look like for Chris?
CM: It really varies because it depends on what the course I am working on needs. So one day I may be hiring a faculty member to create the course material. The next day I may be editing what another faculty member has sent me to review, or I may be surfing the web looking for OERs (open education resources) to include in the course. The next day I might be working with a faculty member to create the exam for the course. I have also created several study guides. Once our quality team approves the course, or the exam, or the study guide, I put the learning materials into the proper Moodle format to upload it to the website. So every day is different. It just depends on what stage the course is in.
SA: What do you like the most about your job?
CM: I am really curious and it is really fun to work on different courses in subject areas I haven’t looked at since college. I also really enjoy writing, which is something I really loved to do in my last job, but didn’t do enough of. I used to write a lot about distance education policy issues, but I have discovered that this type of writing and editing is really not that different from what I am doing now: working with faculty to make sure their materials are succinct and easy to understand. We reach thousands of students every day so I really feel like I am contributing to the education of people around the world. That’s always been something that is important to me. Knowing that we serve so many students is really gratifying. The rest of the Saylor staff is really fun and kind — they all share this same commitment to helping people."Since we have the support of a committed benefactor, Saylor has the luxury of being able to provide free courses: we can help students close these learning gaps so they can get back on track." – Christine Mullins Click To Tweet
SA: What are your hopes for the future of the organization?
CM: I hope Saylor will be able to provide even more remedial courses. Coming from a community college background, I know students really struggle with that. So many students did not have the opportunity to learn the basic stuff they need to know in their K-12 schools: they get stuck taking remedial courses when they really just want to get into college and start earning a degree. Since we have the support of a committed benefactor, Saylor has the luxury of being able to provide free courses: we can help students close these learning gaps so they can get back on track.
SA: What do you like to do when you’re not working?
CM: I have two teenage kids so I am involved in their schools and their schoolwork. I enjoy living in Washington because there are so many art galleries and all kinds of things to do. It is exciting to be in the middle of the political sphere. We also have subscriptions to the Shakespeare Theatre and the Folger Theatre which are just beginning to open up again. I have been involved with different organizations in the Capitol Hill community — it’s a small, close-knit, and diverse group and a great place to raise kids. During the pandemic, I learned how to sew masks to give to local workers and all kinds of groups! There are also a lot of outdoor activities and beautiful places to walk my dog. I wish there were more hours in the day so I could do all the things I want to do.
SA: If you could have a superpower, what would it be?
CM: I would love to be able to read faster. I love to read, but my pile of unread books and magazines is growing pretty high. I am jealous of my daughter who is a super-fast reader. In elementary school she created a superpower doll in her art class that had four eyes and four arms so she could read and walk at the same time! Mine would be the same!
SA: What’s one thing people would be surprised to learn about you?
CM: I have been incredibly lucky to live in foreign countries when I was younger. I lived in Tripoli, Libya when I was in elementary school. That opened up my eyes and had a real influence on my life. I also went to a boarding school for high school in London, where my roommates were from India and Nigeria. It was just a great opportunity to be able to meet people from international backgrounds, and to realize that we are all so different, but in so many ways, we are all the same. We should always look for ways to cherish both of these aspects. People are just fascinating and nearly always wonderful if you open up your arms to them!