“My mother was a teacher,” Vykki Morgan says proudly. “She would have been proud to have known that her daughter followed in her footsteps.” Born to a school teacher/artist mother and a research chemical engineer father, Morgan traveled to various places for her father’s business. She ended up attending a total of three high schools, spending a year in Japan attending high school and earning extra credits at Sophia University, a prestigious private university in Tokyo.
After graduating high school, she journeyed through various career training paths. She first attended Cypress College with dreams of becoming a teacher. Then she changed her mind and decided to become a veterinarian and attended California State University, Long Beach. Again she changed her mind and attended court reporting school.
When she finished school and began working as an official court reporter, she bought her first house – which was quite an accomplishment for a 20-year-old. Morgan remembers her first computer system for court reporting – a computer almost as big as a small car that used a gigantic 9-inch floppy disk. “And it really was floppy!” Morgan said. The industry faced a transition to computerization and she was up for the challenge. Furthermore, it ignited her interest in technology.
Morgan began teaching court reporting at Cerritos College in 1992. She also continued her education while she was teaching. Pursuing her interest in computers, in 1997 she received her master’s degree in Educational Technology from Pepperdine University. She then began to offer several court reporting classes online as a pioneer in online teaching and online course development at Cerritos College. She also taught for the Educational Technology Department from 2003 to 2006.
Morgan has been a presenter at several workshops, including TechEd, a higher education technology conference, and the ASCC Leadership Conference for Cerritos College. She has visited many high schools to give presentations on careers in court reporting and captioning. She has also written several articles that have been published by court reporting publications.
Morgan developed the online stenotype theory courses offered by the Court Reporting Program. In fact, Cerritos College is the only public school in California that offers online theory classes where students first learn the stenotype keyboard. Online has been her particular interest, as she feels she can interact more with students than she can in a classroom any time of the day, and it gives students more flexibility and convenience in taking classes. She also enjoys the process of creating presentations that can be used for online learning by students with different learning styles.
“In some ways online courses give us more opportunities to interact with students than traditional lecture classes,” said Morgan. “I can answer questions students may have doing assignments in a snap, whereas in a regular lecture classroom, students would likely have to wait until the next class meeting.” Her online courses have had students from out of state and even from Canada.
Adding to Morgan’s qualifications to teach court reporting, she is a Registered Diplomate Reporter (RDR), meaning she has passed certification exams that put her among the top level of highly qualified court reporters across the nation. One has to pass a certification of 260 words per minute on the stenotype machine before one can even sit for the RDR examination. Morgan is a highly-qualified, experienced court reporter with 15 years of deposition and court experience prior to becoming a teacher.
This allows Morgan to share good insights with students from the job field. She knows what is expected in the courts and what is important to become a successful court reporter. “Ms. Morgan made a big difference in my learning. She is very effective and stresses the importance of accuracy,” said her student Priscella Kang. “She knows from her experiences that speed is nothing without accuracy in the real courtroom.”
Morgan looks for ways to be creative in her teaching. “We use a light board to indicate different speakers, so the students can practice identifying different speakers during dictation.” Morgan researched and found a company to make a device that adapted the light board to sound to aid sight-impaired or blind students, and she is thrilled that she can now share the light board with all of her students.
She received an Outstanding Faculty Award in 2003-2004, and again in 2006-2007. Besides teaching full time at Cerritos, she also takes classes at Cerritos nearly every semester. “I like to experience different classes from the student’s perspective,” she says.
Last year Morgan travelled to Washington D.C. to ask Congress to create competitive grants to train Realtime Captioners and to pursue federal monies to expand the captioning side of the Court Reporting Program. Both of her missions were accomplished. The Higher Education Reauthorization Opportunity Act passed, including a competitive grant program to train realtime captioners, and the college successfully received a $95,000 grant to train captioners. Morgan and Mary Balmages, who co-chairs the Court Reporting Program with Morgan, have been working on creating captioning curriculum and courses for the program.
Back in 1994, she was the victim of a car-jacking and consequently missed class. She returned in a rental car, but wound up in a multi-car pileup on the way home that totaled the rental car and she missed class again. Her students gave her a card that said, “You should write your life story,” and the second page said, “Naw, no one would ever believe it!” Indeed, she had faced a series of challenges, which included having a severely handicapped child with extreme medical difficulties, a mother with Alzheimer’s, and some more hardships that “all seemed to run together in one very long timeframe,” according to Morgan. No matter what happens in her life, Morgan keeps coming to work with a smile and gives everything she can offer to her students.
One article that she published was about how she met her husband, and, yes, it did have to do with court reporting and Cerritos College. She was on sabbatical to study captioning in 1999 and traveled the country to visit captioning centers. She just so happened to attend a conference -- that just so happened to be offered aboard a cruise ship -- that just so happened to be in the Caribbean -- at the very end of the one-semester sabbatical. It was there that she met Mr. Morgan, who was vacationing from Scotland. She says she learned a lot about captioning during her research, but she also says he was absolutely the best thing she brought back from her travels.
As you can see, Vykki Morgan has successfully “married” her passion for teaching, her passion for court reporting, and her husband, thanks to Cerritos College.