ACMS Aces: Rik Barnes

Rik Barnes of ITSTechnology has become a big part of teaching and learning at UC San Diego. Identifying and using tools to their best advantage can sometimes be a challenging task for faculty. Instructional Technologist Rik Barnes works with faculty to determine their instructional technology needs for a course and identify what tools are available to meet those needs. He supports their teaching by helping them to find the right tools to assist in managing their courses and provide a good student experience.

One tool already broadly used at UC San Diego is Ted, UC San Diego’s learning management system (LMS). Over 24,000 students at UC San Diego have at least one class that uses Ted. Rik helps faculty and TAs use Ted better. He demonstrates different features that faculty can use to manage their course and help students learn. This can include delivering course content through short videos, uploading slides or a syllabus, and creating online discussions through Ted.

As a member of the Instructional Technology Support (ITS) team, Rik is currently evaluating the training available for Ted and identifying how it can be improved and added to. “We’ve identified what we have now. We’re almost done identifying where we want to be,” Rik said. “Once we finish with that we’ll have the gap analysis to dissect, categorize, and prioritize the kind of training that the faculty” need to get the most out of Ted.

Rik was excited to join ITS and work at UC San Diego. “My favorite working environment is a college campus. The environment is just so energizing and optimistic,” he said. “UC San Diego is a wonderful institution and I knew I’d be surrounded by smart, intelligent, innovative, and questioning people and all that’s invigorating to me.”

Prior to joining ITS, Rik worked as an instructional designer in a variety of industries in the public and private sector. He worked directly with faculty in the field of online education at the Grossmont-Cuyamaca College District where he worked on fully online and hybrid courses. Rik’s hands-on work is bolstered by his master’s degree in instructional technology from San Diego State University.

Outside of work, Rik enjoys mountain hiking. Around San Diego he enjoys hiking Black Mountain, Iron Mountain, and Cowles Mountain, but he hasn’t limited himself just to the county. “One of the [hikes] that I’m proudest of is climbing up to the top of Half Dome,” Rik said. “That was a big challenge for me. I felt very good about completing that.”

Striving to reach new heights is clearly something that Rik does naturally, no matter whether it’s enhancing instruction or conquering a mountain. Faculty who want to find out how Rik and ITS can help them can contact the team at its@ucsd.edu or (858) 822-3315.

ACMS Aces is a series of articles that highlights the dedicated employees of Academic Computing & Media Services at UC San Diego. Keep checking back to find out more about the people behind the magic at ACMS!

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