Instructional Designer Uses New Skills to Create Educational Start-Up


- Jeremy Wadhams

Term : January, 2013
Department : Education
Program : Instructional Design

Jeremy Wadhams, founder of the educational start-up Wingtip Labs and former instructional designer at Yahoo, was looking for ways to bridge the narrowing gap between technology and instruction when he started taking courses at UCSC Extension. Yahoo serves 700 million users a month, and when he worked there, his job required him to provide user-friendly content that suits a wide audience.

“Doing things with the computer is very intuitive for me and for our customers,” he says. “I spend all day working on well-written documentation; [and though many people] have a lot of respect for a wiki, they disrespect professional HR training. The single most useful thing I’ve done since I’ve been working professionally is to ask people who are going to take the courses, ‘How do you like to learn?’

It’s an honest question that brings honest answers. Wadhams had worked in IT for a decade after leaving the University of Nebraska, where he had started a degree program in what he calls “half hard-core programming and half engineering.” He was taking adult education courses recreationally until 2011, when he realized he’d already taken about half of the required courses for the Instructional Design and Delivery program. Wadhams says that part of what makes UCSC Extension’s courses so appealing is that the instructors bring real industry experience to the classroom. Wadhams completed the program in late 2012. In October 2012, he left Yahoo to found Wingtip Labs, a company that will soon provide educational software for information technology professionals.

“I needed a change of scenery, and I wanted to change career tracks,” Wadhams says. “The course work at UCSC Extension made it a career change that suited my personality. Extension made it make sense.”

 The program, which caters to both professional educators and corporate trainers, provided a space for Wadhams to apply new skills to projects he was developing. Extension’s Instructional Design program meets the needs of instructional designers like Wadhams, corporate trainers, and K-12 teachers and educators seeking professional development.

“One of the really great things about the courses is that they let you bring in projects you are working on, as long as it is in the context of the class. [I bring] plenty of my homework assignments into work the next day, and they become part of my process.”

Visit our Instructional Design and Delivery for Educators and Corporate Trainers program page to learn more about UCSC Extension’s unique offerings. Browse upcoming Instructional Design courses.

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