Alan Tiller, Publishing Manager
Alan Tiller is the Publishing Manager at DeakinPrime who has over 20 years’ experience as an editing and publishing professional in commercial and educational publishing environments.
In this interview Alan provides us with an overview of what it takes to create customised learning materials in accordance with client requirements and how the increasing popularity of e-publishing enables the team to incorporate interactivity and ultimately inject life into the e-pages you read.
Alan, what does your role as the Manager of the Publishing Group entail?
As Manager of the Publishing Group, I am responsible for the editorial, copyright, design, typesetting and production services within Deakin Prime. These services are important for our ability to effectively deliver quality materials on time.
The publishing group consists of three teams:
- An Editorial team, which has professional editors responsible for copy editing and copyright services.
- We also have the Desktop Publishing team, responsible for the design and typesetting of learning materials.
- And we also have a Production team that is responsible for the print manufacturing and dispatch of learning materials.
And obviously you talk to lots of clients in your day-to-day work. How do you ensure the correct ‘look and feel’ of the print materials that the clients want?
Basically, the development of learning materials consists of two major stages. The first one is the design and development stage, and the second stage is the production stage.
In the design and development stage, we would work closely with clients, instructional designers and Project Managers to ensure that the materials have the right ‘look and feel’ that the client wants. This may involve coming up with some types of examples that include branding and logos of the company etc. It may also involve us coming up with examples of the type of delivery methods, the types of binders that might be used and type of binding. Also, the types of templates that client wants to be used and be happy with.
So, we would come out with a number of options for the client to choose from and to work with them and with the instructional designers and the Project Managers to come up with the best form of materials for that specific training or delivery.
And I know that occasionally you have some tight deadlines. How do you and your team members manage that?
Sure. We’re often every much at the end of the process, after the materials have been developed and written. But the idea really is to schedule the process at the beginning to make sure that there is enough time for this material to be developed and then produced properly, enough time for the editing, desktop publishing and production services, etc. And I guess really it’s about constant project managing. That where things are running a bit late, and hopefully they’re not, it's about reorganising with the client to reschedule when necessary.
What are the more popular types of learning or training material formats?
I guess the major ones would be print and electronic. Print very much involves delivering materials and in the print format that can be done in a number of ways. Again, using binders and using different types of binding. Some people prefer wiro-bound materials that allow the materials to be laid flat. And there are lots of other options. Also, the types of binders we use - whether it is polypropylene binders or plastic binders or even cardboard wrap binders can be used. We also get involved in the print side with developing posters, cards, etc. There are lots of options regarding the print or the physical delivery of the materials.
I guess the other major option is the electronic delivery of the materials, or e-publishing. That’s certainly increasing in popularity and that involves either taking traditional publishing or else delivering new projects that can be delivered via an electronic format. The benefits of that format are that it’s a flexible format for many people on the go. It also allows us to incorporate lots of interactivity into the material and that is also very attractive to clients. This electronic material can be delivered directly to laptop, PC, desktop, tablet, even to e-readers in various formats. That is one thing that the Publishing Group can do. They can recommend the specific format which is best for the delivery.
When you talk about interactivity of e-publishing materials, what exactly do you mean by that?
I guess it’s incorporating into maybe more traditional print or content things like links, audio and visual, and also the ability for participants to insert answers into materials or to engage with the material, whether that’s through activities or even through better navigation of the material. So it allows a broader learning experience in that way.