Courses taught: The Computing and Digital Marketing Portfolio of Courses: Microsoft Office; Website and Blog Development; Social Media; eBook Publishing on Amazon; Google Analytics and Google Adwords.
1. Please tell us a bit about your background/what is your subject area and how did you become an expert in it?
My name is Ashley Mackie and I graduated with a Politics and Sociology Masters Degree from Aberdeen University, I then went on to complete a Postgraduate in Publishing Studies from Robert Gordon University. The Postgraduate degree opened the doors for me to work with two leading publishers – Oxford University Press and Wiley. Whilst working full-time I undertook a CIM (Chartered Institute of Marketing) Postgraduate Degree in Marketing to develop my skills more. Currently, I head up the online marketing within a PR and Marketing agency for several large companies. It is essential for me to stay up to date with the latest developments in online marketing and computing in order for me to serve my clients to the best possible standard.
2. Why do you think your subjects are important?
It is clear that over the last 5 years we have seen a proliferation of individuals branching out and becoming entrepreneurs through online platforms (Facebook, Etsy and creating websites). People are relying on online tools like social media and blogs to communicate with consumers in a B2C environment and business in a B2B environment. Therefore the subjects are important as they are helping people become more confident in online communication and help them achieve their goals in business and professionally, this will then lead to better working practice and better profits for the businesses.
3. What do your students get from coming to your classes?
What I like to do first is ask the students to complete an online questionnaire ahead of a course, so then I can ensure that each student is going to get the best out of the syllabus. Everyone is different and it is good to get a solid understanding of what the students require and ensure that at the end of the course the leave with all their learning goals and objectives ticked.
4. What sort of things do you do on your courses?
The courses are centred around a weekly training syllabus that is given to the students in the first week of the course. I incorporate real world examples where possible as it also allows students to create a better understanding of how platforms work for other brands and individuals; this creates a ‘food for thought’ element to the learning process.
5. What do you enjoy most about teaching?
I like nurturing students and passing on my knowledge to them. In a typical class, you see several very different individuals and it is a real joy to learn a little from them too. They are all truly inspiring and I feel that there is nothing more rewarding than seeing people, of all ages and professions with a real hunger to learn more and improve their workflow.
6. Are there any particular students you have worked with whose lives have been changed by your course or who are particularly positive about it?
One person that always stands out is a gentleman in his 80s who attended the Microsoft Office course. He was a real inspiration as he really had the drive to learn and incorporate elements like creating presentations and charts into his role within his parish council role. It just highlights that today, you can really embrace learning and incorporate it into your everyday life. As we now live in an ageing society I feel that we will see more retired individuals sign-up for courses and keep their mental stimulation high.
As the timeless quote by Karl Marx goes - 'The philosophers have only interpreted the world in various ways; the point, however, is to change it'. Training and learning have the ability to change things for the better and give people an insight into what is possible.