21, No. 6, Sept. 20, 2001
Interview by Sharita Forrest, Assistant Editor
(217) 244-1072; firstname.lastname@example.org
by Bill Wiegand
Peter Kimble has been a high school teacher and a sound technician
for several 1970s rock bands. For the past five years, he
has been a computer-assisted instruction specialist at
Peter Kimble has been a high school teacher and a sound technician for
several 1970s rock bands. For the past five years, he has been a computer-assisted
instruction specialist, helping hundreds of UI faculty and staff members
and alumni master various software programs. Kimble holds bachelors
and masters degrees in psychology and in the teaching of computer
science, respectively, from the UI. His leisure interests include travel
and reading science fiction and mysteries.
Tell me about your job responsibilities.
Well, the primary task is teaching workshops, mostly to faculty and
staff [members], public school teachers and others, in using technology
to improve whatever theyre doing in their job. Everything else
that I do pretty much flows from there, which includes doing all the
scheduling, deciding on adding new topics or discarding old ones. What
Ive been teaching are the image and presentation, classroom-related
How do you decide what software to introduce?
A combination of just general undertones of conversations among various
technology people on campus, things I see in the trade press, interest,
How many different programs are you learning
in a typical month or year?
In my case, its not really that bad probably eight or nine
different software titles at various levels. For example, with Photoshop,
I teach three different workshops: beginning, intermediate and one that
concentrates specifically on Web-related things. Ive been dealing
with computers and software for more than 25 years, so once youre
at a certain level of comfort its not that difficult to pick up
basically what its going to do. Theres nothing like knowing
that youre going to be teaching a new workshop in six weeks to
motivate you to really learn the new version of that software.
How many classes do you teach every year?
Its probably 90 to 100 workshops per year.
You were a teacher at University High before
you started here? What were you teaching?
I started there in 1974 and was there until 1996, for several years
just as a part-time graduate assistant. This was back in the very early
days of the PLATO system long before the Mac, long before the
PC. Eventually it evolved into computer technology, computer programming-type
classes. I was doing some programming on the side back when I was a
graduate student, and it eventually grew into my own software company.
Do you still have your own company?
I have been phasing that out. Essentially, it was a company that designed
custom software for a computer company called Wang, which has kind of
suffered in recent years. They used to make dedicated word processing
equipment. I ended up having three or four other organizations along
with that client, but now most of them have moved off in other directions.
How does teaching high-schoolers differ from
The one thing that I really miss about Uni High is the kids. It was
just a whole nother level of energy. What I really like about
the teaching that Im doing now is that the people who are taking
these courses are really interested in whats going on. Its
the people that make this fun to do.
When were you a roadie for rock bands?
Were looking at the early 70s, so it wasnt semi trucks
full of equipment like they have at the Assembly Hall now. It wasnt
nearly as sophisticated. We could get all our stuff in one truck. Wed
find some guys and offer to let them in free to the concert if theyd
help us set it all up. Wed always have lots of help setting it
up but never any help tearing it down.
We would essentially set up the sound system and then be sitting back
there during the concert mixing the sound: a little more guitar, a little
less drum, whatever it might need.
I spent about a year and a half traveling around with different groups,
probably the best known of which was our six-week stint with the Grateful
Dead. It was great. I thought Id died and gone to heaven. So Im
sitting there and Id think, Yknow, I think Jerrys
[Garcia] guitar needs to be a little louder, and so Id do it!
That was fun, but it got a little tiring being on the road all the time.
What other groups did you work for?
Some of the other groups included the revised Quicksilver Messenger
Service, Steppenwolf, Lee Michaels; we did a couple of things with the
Carpenters, Black Sabbath, Procol Harum, Jethro Tull. They were all
at the time relatively well known.
by Sharita Forrest