About Me

Mary Eckes

I’m a freelance instructional designer and developer from Grass Valley, California, in the United States.
Read the story of my journey from classroom teacher/trainer to a creative, instructional designer and graphic artist:

My Start

I always wanted to be a teacher. When I graduated with my BA in English Lit, I started teaching in a refugee English language program at Santa Ana Community College in southern California. This program laid the groundwork for me to understand and design curriculum. My first classes were students at the very beginning of their English language journey, so I had to learn how to design curriculum for students who did not understand a word I said.  

My Growth

When I moved to northern California, I continued working in adult education teaching students from all over the world. I learned about different cultures, different approaches to learning, and had a lot of fun along the way. During this time, I coauthored teacher resource books supporting K through 12 teachers who may have language learners in their classrooms and need help with modifying their curriculum. I took complex, linguistic theory and turned it into easily accessible material a teacher could use to succeed in their jobs.

The Dream!

While I was teaching adults English, I discovered computers and the multitude of creative software in the market. I learned everything I could put my hands on and expanded my teaching to include women wishing to reenter the job market and needed to learn technology. I developed curriculum to suit the various levels of experience these learners brought with them. I moved to Grass Valley, CA during this time and worked in a local high school supporting the students and staff with technical training. This is when I discovered Instructional Design. I was born to do this work! I love the challenge of assessing what the learner needs to know and how best to develop the learning tools to support that kind of learning. All my previous experience has prepared me for this field.  Do you remember the classic scene in the movie The Wizard of Oz when Dorothy opens the door to her house to discover a world in breath-taking color? That’s what finding this career was like for me! I haven’t looked back since. I wanted to learn everything I could, so I went back to college and earned my MS in Instructional Design and Technology from Walden University.

Living the Dream

Whether you need to outsource some of your projects or need someone to design a specific course, I provide the full range of instructional design options: courses for instructor-led classes, blended learning, online courses, or design updates for courses you might want to polish. I would love to apply my lifetime of experience with a variety of learning environments and create the course that perfectly meets your needs!