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A passion for teaching

DETROIT LAKES - Teaching -- it's more than just a vocation for Lynn Durward. It's her passion.

"What I like to do more than anything is to teach," she says.

A web development instructor at Minnesota State Community & Technical College in Detroit Lakes for the past nine years, Durward was recently honored by the National Institute for Staff & Organizational Development (NISOD) for excellence in teaching.

The award was formally presented as part of the 30th annual International Conference on Teaching and Leadership Excellence in Austin, Texas. Every year, NISOD holds this conference to recognize and honor individuals for their teaching excellence.

Nominations for MSCTC instructors are submitted by professional colleagues, verified and approved by MSCTC's President's Council and then submitted to NISOD.

"I just felt really honored," Durward says, noting that she was nominated by her dean at MSCTC-DL, Helene Hedlund. "It was a very nice thing for the college to do."

Durward has been an instructor at MSCTC in DL for 10 years, and is currently an information technology instructor for MSCTC's online web development program.

"It's an exciting field, and our students are getting jobs," she says. "That's great."

Durward's classes include "everything from making Web sites to administering them, making data bases connect to Web sites... basically everything that has to do with creating Web pages and Web sites, and make them usable, so people will be able to navigate them.

"It's an area that's gotten much more complex," she says. "It used to be mainly a text medium -- now there are so many different ways you can do things.

"You're taking a medium used to deliver text and adding all these things to it that weren't initially intended to be there.

"Movies, sound, animation -- there's so much more depth (to Web development) than there used to be."

Durward says that one of her favorite classes to teach is Flash, a Web program used to deliver creative content.

"The program itself has two sides to it," she says.

"One is the very creative side, and the back end side is all the programming and coding that has to deliver the creative content to the user."

What she enjoys most about the class, Durward says, is that "you have to use both sides of your brain."

Another challenging class that Durward teaches is "how to write for the web."

"People scan things and grab information quickly," she says.

"If you don't grab their attention right away, it's off to the next page."

An increasing number of Durward's classes are actually taught online.

"Our program went online three years ago," she says.

"We have a 30-credit certificate available online -- and those classes are so popular, they fill up well before the (registration) deadline."

Durward believes the online classes have become so popular in recent years because of their flexibility; you can do the work at any time of day that fits into your schedule.

After almost a decade of commuting back and forth between her home in Perham and her job in Detroit Lakes, Durward and her husband, Bob Louiseau, recently moved to Detroit Lakes.

Louiseau became DL's new city administrator last October, after filling that post in Perham for the previous 17 years.

Prior to that, he was the economic development director in Detroit Lakes for eight years; they moved to DL from Duluth, Minn., in 1983.

The couple has two sons, both grown. Grant, 26, is an accountant in the Twin Cities, while Brian, 22, is a student at a technical college in Grand Forks.

Vicki Gerdes

Staff writer at Detroit Lakes Newspapers for the past 16 years, currently editor of the entertainment and community pages as well as covering city council and the Lake Park-Audubon School Board. Living in DL with my cat, Smokey.

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