Jon Bäckström's Professional Biography

With an academic background in psychology and instructional development, Jon Bäckström also has a long history of involvement with leading-edge computer technology. He has been programming microcomputers and performing UNIX systems administration since 1978, working for several years as a user interface engineer, professional computer programmer, and instructional technologist.

Jon developed an extensive background in computer programming and multimedia authoring while working and studying at Purdue University and Indiana University during the 1980's. This experience led to a job at Computer Teaching Corporation in Champaign-Urbana, Illinois. Jon helped design and develop TenCORE Producer 2.0, a graphically-oriented authoring tool for computer-based training and interactive videodisc applications.

With experience designing user interfaces and programming multimedia authoring systems, Jon moved to Des Moines, Iowa in 1991 after being recruited to work on the development of CD-i authoring tools by OptImage (a Philips/Magnavox and Microware partnership). In 1993, active development for CD-i authoring tools ended at OptImage, but Jon and his family decided to remain living and working in Iowa.

During the next two years, Jon worked on the PSInet project (funded by the National Science Foundation) at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa. Originally developed by IBM (EduQuest), PSInet - the People Sharing Information Network - is a batch-mode BBS system for K-12 communications and conferencing. Starting from IBM source code, Jon lead a development team that created both DOS and Macintosh client software and new server enhancements to handle high-speed modems.

Doing UNIX systems administration and Internet research during the development of the PSInet software, Jon discovered the web early in 1994 and began to develop the technical expertise to become one of the earliest and most experienced webmasters in the state of Iowa.

In 1995, Jon accepted a position at Iowa State University through the Department of Economics, CARD, ISU Extension, and the School of Agriculture (Iowa Agriculture and Home Economics Experiment Station) to design and develop the Iowa PROfiles project (this web site). Project responsibilities included UNIX systems administration of an Silicon Graphics (SGI Indy) WebFORCE server, C++, Perl, and shell script CGI development, and the integration of database resources served from a a companion Windows NT server using Microsoft IIS, dbWeb, Visual Basic, and O'Reilly WebSite.

Jon's work on Iowa PROfiles also included graphic design and the creation of user interface standards for navigation. This site became an early successful example of how a large body of information could be logically organized and many of the interface features and graphic design elements found their way onto other large public web servers in the state, including the official State of Iowa web site.

In early 1997, Jon accepted a position in the ISU Department of Agronomy to develop an online Master's degree program, the first full program for a web-based distance education degree ever offered at Iowa State University. Jon was the webmaster and instructional development coordinator for the project and led a development team that will worked with faculty to design and develop the instructional content and student management tools for the program.

Development activities in the Agronomy Distance Education Lab included instructional design, HTML authoring, Java and JavaScript programming, and the production of Internet-connected hybrid CD-ROMs using several multimedia authoring tools. The lab featured a mix of PC-based Windows NT and Linux (UNIX) servers and Jon began work on several web-based database applications using Microsoft IIS, dbWeb, Access, Visual C++, Visual J++, and Visual Basic.

To augment his development activities, Jon maintains a web site for information on the development of Online Education and Training. The current site indexes the development of current projects and tools for web-based and distance education courses at local institutions and around the world.

Jon left Iowa State University in June of 1997 to accept a new position at Meredith Corporation in Des Moines, Iowa. Meredith Corporation is a large media company that produces Better Homes and Gardens, Ladies Home Journal, Successful Farming, and several other publications. They also own several television stations. Jon is working as a Database Administrator and Programmer for New Media where he is currently implementing on-line database systems using Oracle, Informix, LiveWire Pro, and other tools in support of Meredith's publications and corporate Intranet. Jon also develops applications using Perl, Javascript, Visual C++, Visual J++, and Visual InterDev.

Jon Bäckström can be contacted at either of the following addresses:

Jon W. Bäckström
New Media Internet Engineer
Meredith Corporation
1716 Locust Avenue, LN-316
Des Moines, IA 50309-3023

(515) 284-2848


Applied Digital Arts
P.O. Box 375
Indianola, IA 50125

(515) 961-0100
(515) 961-0101 Fax - Infoplex Communications

Return to Home Page

Mail questions or comments to
Last updated October 10, 1998