Program: Continuing Education
When Richard Morton was a kid, he loved visiting his Aunt Mary, who owned a Commodore 64.
“I wanted to play Ghostbusters every time I came to her house,” he said. “So I was only 4 when she taught me DOS and how to start up games. She was very patient and made learning very fun and easy to understand.
“Aunt Mary, who also happens to be an alumnae of College of DuPage, is the reason I became interested in computers and later began teaching it to youth. That ‘ah-ha’ look in a kid’s eyes makes it all worth it.”
In addition to teaching computers through the Continuing Education program at College of DuPage, Morton is a freelance 3D/graphic art, a tutor and a tech consultant for both individuals and small businesses. He is starting a streaming channel on Mixer to give lessons on 3D modeling and digital art.
Morton comes from a family of teachers. It was during his time in the Navy’s Nuclear Propulsion Program that he knew he wanted to become one.
“The Navy nuclear pipeline literally trains you to become the most effective and efficient teacher,” he said. “Over 90 percent of the teachers in nuclear power school are sea-returnees, and it’s the main reason why naval nuclear reactors have not had a single nuclear accident in their nearly 70 years of existence.
“I was also the Training Petty Officer for the Reactor Laboratories Division while I was stationed on my submarine, The USS Alaska SSBN 732. Coming out of the Navy, I couldn’t help but teach people things every chance I could. It really drives my family nuts. Teaching is more of an obsession for me than a passion.”
Regardless of his students’ age, Morton tells them to have no fear.
“The best way you can learn a computer application or operating system is by exploring it,” he said. “You learn from mistakes and chances. There’s no way this is possible if the student is afraid they might break it.”
Another person who inspired Morton was his college social psychology professor.
“Dr. Sullivan had so much energy and was so animated that many of us thought he might have a heart attack in the middle of class,” he said. “Picture a bald and white-bearded Robin Williams with glasses. He made learning so entertaining with his jokes, funny dry marker illustrations, hilarious analogies and spot-on knowledge. He was also not afraid to challenge us or play devil’s advocate to our ideas and opinions.
“I want to be that teacher. I want to make it fun to learn just like Dr. Sullivan did. It’s teachers like him that make this world an awesome place.”