Columns features our executive director for Franklin IT, and leader extraordinaire, Beth Woods:
For Beth Woods and her team, information technology goes beyond coding and servers.
In fact, they made sure more than 300 classrooms were ready for both in-person and virtual learning in August.
“Everyone came together to find a solution that was cost-effective, that met the needs of faculty and students, and that we could roll out either internally or with a vendor,” said Woods, executive director for IT in the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences. “It was truly a team effort; I’ve never seen anything like it.”
Woods got her bachelor’s degree from Agnes Scott College and then moved to Athens to pursue her master’s degree in instructional technology—and later a doctorate in learning, design, and technology—in UGA’s Mary Frances Early College of Education. She then worked in both public and private K-12 schools for several years as a classroom teacher and instructional technologist before taking a position in the College of Family and Consumer Sciences in 2008. In 2010, she shifted to Franklin College and has been there since then.
Woods admits that her career path was a bit indirect. When she started her undergraduate studies, she thought she might go into mechanical or aerospace engineering and studied physics. She decided that wasn’t for her and ended up getting a second bachelor’s degree in music. It was through an internship working with a local audiovisual technology consulting company that she was introduced to the instructional technology field. That led to a student worker job that she loved and cemented her career path.
Instructional technology and information technology are similar and different, Woods said. Information technology is the foundational component that supports instructional technology, which is “the theory and practice of design, development, utilization, management and evaluation of processes and resources for learning,” according to the Association for Educational Communications and Technology. The fields are similar in that they both require technical problem-solving and customer service skills and help people feel supported.