Think Tank

5 Questions: Kristen Blackwell

January 27, 2016

With a university background in Literature, Anthropology, and Art, Kristen Blackwell, a Project Manager at Intellum, never expected to find herself in the growing fields of technology and eLearning. Now, she leads new client implementations, manages custom projects and account strategy, and heads up client communications in the Intellum Think Tank (as you may have noticed)! Before being initiated into the software world, Kristen spent a year teaching English in Beijing, China, and studied U.S.-China relations under the 39th President at The Carter Center. She since has harbored a special love for Chinese food, while spending her free time traveling, crafting, or reading, and dreaming of the day she can share her life with another… dog. Read more below!

Kristen, you completely raise the level of crafty, Pinterest talent in the office.  What is your favorite thing you have made and why?


I recently finished a lamp that I made from a vintage globe found in someone's basement--that one might be at the top of the list. I've painted some calendars and greeting cards that have turned out pretty well too. My favorite crafts are the ones that are both creative and practical. Be on the look out for my Etsy shop! (Kidding, kind of).

After college, you spent time teaching in China, what was the most valuable thing you learned from this experience?


Well, China is a very different place. The culture shock was pretty intense. I ate crazy things, went on camel tours and crazy taxi rides alike, and had to live without Youtube and Facebook for a lot of the time. But I think the most valuable realization from a year there was that, really, all the people wanted the same sort of things out of life as I did--friends, family, career advancement, recognition, love. It was definitely a humbling experience.


You have the privilege of working directly with our clients on a daily basis, from this experience, what trends have you noticed in eLearning?


I think the biggest trend in eLearning that many clients are taking advantage of is the idea of 'elective learning,' rather than compliance or required type training. Students are always going to have those 'auto-enrolled, recurring enrollments' that they need to take, but companies are also including supplementary resources and materials in the Catalog so students can expand their skills and/or take Courses that they personally have an interest in. This really helps make the LMS more attractive to learners, as it is no longer the place where they go to just take that one boring (but effective) safety Course.

You are stranded on a desert island, with no hopes of rescue, and can only bring three books.  Which books would you choose?

Probably... 'The Brothers Karamazov" by Fyodor Dostoevsky

'The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy' series by Douglas Adams

and EITHER 'BossyPants' by Tina Fey or 'Leaves of Grass' by Walt Whitman (I'm not sure if I would need comedy or poetry more, stranded on an island).


What is your spirit animal and why?


For HP fans out there, I've been told my patronus is an owl...

Non-HP fans out there, go read the Harry Potter series, stat!