Brian Stockus

Photo of Brian Stockus

Title

Senior Instructional Designer, Time to Know Austin, Texas

Education

M.A. in Curriculum and Instruction, 2006

Biography

My master’s program only lasted two years, but it was a phenomenal learning experience. The class sizes were small which meant a lot of attention from the professors. Also, the classes were often composed of the same students who started the program with me, so I was able to get to know them as we worked on projects or debated research articles. I made several invaluable friendships that have lasted to this day.

One of the best experiences I had while at UT was getting an internship with Enspire Learning, a local e-learning company. I was hired for the position because of connections the Instructional Technology program maintains in the Austin area. Enspire asked our program for volunteers to do usability testing for a new course they were developing. I jumped at the opportunity, followed up with Enspire, and landed the internship. Having taught elementary school, it was an exciting challenge for me to design e-learning courses aimed at adult learners in topics such as finance and banking.

Why UT?

I graduated from UT in 2001 with my bachelor’s degree in Applied Learning and Development. After four years in the classroom, I knew I wanted to earn my master’s degree so that I could grow professionally as an educator. I’m a Longhorn through and through, so there was no question whether I’d be going back to UT.

In the summer of 2003, I made an appointment with Dr. Min Liu. She took the time to talk with me about the different degree programs available in the Curriculum and Instruction department. I’m sure she’s a little biased since she is a professor in the Instructional Technology program, but it turned out to be the best fit for me. I could tell that technology is taking on a larger and larger role in the classroom, and I want to be at the forefront of that change.

Life After UT

After I graduated with my master's degree in 2006, I returned to teaching in public schools, excited to apply everything I had learned about designing great instruction. Thanks to connections I made at UT, I also worked part-time writing e-learning courses for another local company, Alchemy Systems. After two years back in the classroom, I was offered a job at Time To Know, a digital curriculum company based out of Tel Aviv, Israel. For the past three years, I’ve been leading a team of content developers designing digital math lessons for elementary school students.

Advice for Students

Before I started at UT in 2004, I knew I wanted to grow professionally, but I had no idea my experiences at UT would lead me to such fun, challenging, and rewarding positions. If you’re thinking of going back to school, I recommend you do what I did. Email some professors to get a feel for what you might learn in their program. Ask about the research they do and the types of jobs their graduates have taken. Going back to school is a commitment of time and money, but if you take the time to choose wisely it is definitely worth it.