AU Profiles – Tyler Nagel

Student: Tyler Nagel

If you thought the computer age had made printing and printing presses obsolete, you’d be wrong. ?It’s anything but old-fashioned,? says Tyler Nagel, a National Expert in offset printing, and, since 2002, a student in AU’s Bachelor of Commerce program.

Here, the e-Commerce major explains why ?traditional? printing is key to so many industries, and describes his work with WorldSkills, an Olympics-style international competition of technical skills.

Tyler, who teaches full-time, also shares his strategies for keeping it all in balance?and for getting everything done!

Tyler works full-time for the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (SAIT), teaching in their Journalism and Digital Graphic Communications programs. ?I teach . . . all the stuff that happens after the reporters file their stories and photos,? he says. But it isn’t just publication layout That’s important: more happens during the printing phase than you might suspect.

And It’s very, very important. Tyler explains: ?Printing is the fourth-largest manufacturing sector in North America?and the majority of that printing happens with liquid ink on paper.? For example, he adds, ?Most things in your daily life are printed with ?traditional? offset technology: books, money, newspapers, flyers, catalogues, notepads, business cards, packaging.?

Computers might design the type or template, but offset printing technology reproduces it. It’s cheaper, better quality, and quicker than what we might think of as ?modern? copying technology: laser printing and carbon-based copying. ?What most people would think of as old-fashioned is actually a world of multi-million dollar machines, completely run and controlled by computers, to within fractions of a millimetre of tolerance,? Tyler explains.

He should know. He’s a National Expert in offset printing for WorldSkills International, an international competition That’s second only to the Olympics in size. WorldSkills?essentially, the athletics competition for technical skills?matches up teams from qualifying countries to show technical prowess in 45 different areas. The competitions in each skill area are designed and judged by groups of experts like Tyler, who represents Canada on the expert panel for offset printing.

How does one judge a technical competition? It’s more than the quality of the final results: speed, operating skills, press cleanup, and resource management all play a part. During the last competition?in Calgary this past fall?14 countries competed on two presses. ?Each competitor got to print [only] one job,? Tyler says. ?Talk about pressure!?

The pressure can be high in the judging area, too. Tyler is grateful for some of the skills he’s learned through AU. ?The management-oriented courses have taught me a lot about leadership and communication,? he says. ?[they’re] essential skills when You’re working through interpreters in four different languages with experts from 14 countries!?

One of the most important skills distance learning has taught him, though, is time management. ?It’s a constant challenge to balance all the demands in my life,? Tyler says. ?AU has forced me to learn . . . time management.? In fact, this skill is crucial to success in distance learning in general, he feels. ?[It] is absolutely essential to avoiding procrastination,? he says. ?I’m certain more people fail at AU because of procrastination than any other cause.?

His main strategy: ?A good Day-timer!? Tyler says, and he means it. Instead of setting deadlines, he recommends setting time limits for a task. ?It’s a game-changer when you move from knowing something is due on a certain date to knowing that you have an hour to complete a task, and that the hour you have is from 4:30-5:30 on Wednesday,? he explains.

Time management involves more than scheduling; It’s also important to choose carefully what to focus on when studying. ?Pay special attention to the learning objectives at the start of each lesson,? Tyler advises. ?If an assigned reading doesn’t directly relate to these, I’ve found that It’s likely background material and can be read in less depth than other readings.? It will free up time to focus on more important areas of the coursework, he explains.

Of course, It’s also essential to factor in time to pursue personal hobbies and interests. In addition to his work with WorldSkills, Tyler also manages to fit in travelling, backpacking in the mountains in the summertime, and skiing during the winter.

Does the system work? Most of the time! ?It helps, but a system is only as good as the will of the user,? Tyler admits. ?And my will isn’t always perfect!?

Christina M. Frey’s got her schedule all worked out: everything comes before housework. When She’s trying to avoid doing the dishes, she blogs about life at The Twisting Kaleidoscope.

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