Featured Alumni Profiles

M. Brian Jones

MA '03, Educational Communication and Technology

“Media technology for learning is a fantastic way of extending the richness of the classroom experience beyond the classroom,” says Brian Jones. “Electronic textbooks, online learning, programs that will create, grade and report homework assignments – or even help you learn a different language by the push of a button – these are just a few examples of the staggering technological products that are reshaping learning today.”

Jones received his MA from the Department of Administration, Leadership, and Technology in 2003 after a considerable time in the field of educational technology. “I started out as a professional musician with my own recording studio. As a composer and certified ‘tech head,’ I had the opportunity to compose music and design the sound for a number of products, including the Magic School Bus series, a Microsoft Home CD-ROM series that helped elementary students learn general education subject matter.  That’s when I really got the bug for educational technology.” Soon after he found himself in the position of hiring people as Chief Information Officer at a company called The Diversity Channel, and he realized he was not likely to hire anyone who didn’t have a master’s degree. “Then I looked in the mirror! I enrolled in the Educational Communication and Technology (ECT) program and, once I received my MA, I was catapulted to a much higher level in my career.”

Jones says his master’s degree also prepared him perfectly for his current job. Today he is Director of Media Development with McGraw-Hill Higher Education’s Humanities, Social Sciences, and World Languages group. “I essentially work at McGraw-Hill’s education, communication and technology factory.  It’s fabulous to have spent so much time and effort learning about things that are now a viable part of my day to day work experience.”  

As Director, Jones is at the forefront of a revolution in multimedia technology for education, a field that has only been in existence seriously for about five years. “I manage a number of media producers, each of whom creates products such as CD ROMs, DVDs, and online products that accompany higher education texts in truly integrated and meaningful ways.” Of this work, Jones says he most enjoys the fact that it “touches over a million students each year.” He also relishes working with his “extremely bright staff, a few of whom are ECT alums I’ve actually positioned here. It’s great to work with people who have similar training.” 

Jones continues his connection with NYU as an adjunct professor in the ECT program, where he teaches communication with digital media and programming for interactive instruction. He hopes to continue to teach while he works to develop more collaborative learning programs which can offer professors ever more powerful ways to reach students. “I’m not talking about flat web pages, but real robust environments with super-rich media content that will be able to generate a high level of interactivity both within the technology and also person to person.”  Although he sometimes finds it’s not easy persuading academics to employ more media technology, he feels as if he’s on a mission. “What I’m ultimately doing, every day, is being an evangelist for the exciting potential of media technology for learning.”