I entered the Master of Education with a Major in Media, Instructional Technology academic program at University of West Georgia in the summer of 2015. I have taught public administration and related courses for about 30 years. My interests have always been multidisciplinary in nature. I am in an academic field like others that tends to reward scholars who are highly specialized rather than generalists. I have tenure in a University where I have leeway to be innovative in my teaching and make innovative applications of technology in my courses. I have explored multiple innovations in recent years including educational applications of Second Life by Charles and Rebecca Nesson of Harvard Law School, and participation in the early MOOCs as originally framed by George Siemans and Stephen Downes. I am fascinated by software development using object-oriented programming languages and design techniques. I might have become a business analyst or a computer programmer if my strengths had been identified earlier in my life. I wonder if the new movie based on the book, "Ready Player One" by Ernest Cline will usher in new interest in creative educational experiences in immersive virtual realities. The challenge is not to chase the technology but to discover ways to leverage sound teaching principles with the potentials of new and emerging technologies.
Several years ago, I had the opportunity to become a subject matter expert for the development of an online course in public budgeting at Kent State University. I accepted the opportunity, seeing a possible convergence of my passions for educational innovations and for technical design and development. I worked virtually with an instructional designer and with her colleague an instructional technologist to build that course. It was a difficult experience because I was on multiple learning curves at the same time. I was not familiar with competencies-based education. I observed the challenges faced by the instructional design as a project manager attempting to complete the project on time and on budget, and aligned with Quality Matters (QM) design criteria. I then taught the resulting course online several times and observed what worked well and what parts of it were less successful.
When I learned of opportunities to study online at University of West Georgia (UWG) I applied for acceptance into the master's program. This portfolio is a reflection of the variety of my experiences in the program. My intention now is to continue to increase my knowledge and skills and to move into a second career in which I can become a team member and help others become successful educators in technology-enhanced instructional environments. That is why I have chosen to build this portfolio around the ISTE Standard FOR COACHES.
My complete curriculum vitae is available here.
My advice to a new student entering this program is to ask to receive the instructions for the portfolio upon entry into the program and to become familiar with the various sets of standards during the first semester. In the Specialist program I plan to begin working on my portfolio immediately. I appreciate my professors and their willingness to understand me. I appreciate my fellow students who fully accepted me despite differences in ages and backgrounds. I struggled during the program. The culture of the College of Education is somewhat different from the culture of the other schools in which I have completed programs of study. The fact that I traveled to campus several times to meet people in person helped. Simple things like the meaning of an "artifact" can be confusing to a person at a distance who has never before studied in a college of education. I think the two most important things I encountered were visual literacy and dual processing theory. Also, the suggestion to read the book, Ready Player One may yet change my life.
I am an odd case and am probably at once both the "youngest" and the oldest student in the program. I have taught in colleges and universities for many years and this program is helping me become a better professor. There were moments in the early going that I thought this program of study may not be right for me. But several professors in particular reached out to me and helped make the different. Mrs. Vicki Griffin also reached out to me in important ways. I think the professors in this program face both the expectations of a teaching institution and the expectations of research institution. Despite the range of expectations they face, my professors provided me meaningful guidance and substantial feedback. I am a better person and a better professor by having come this way. I look forward to continuing into the Specialist program.
Reflection on My Career Plans:
|I hope to apply my experiences in college and university teaching to the advancement of the applications of design and technologies to adult learning. I believe great and disruptive advances will be made within ten years. Higher education is at a crossroads. Given constrained budgets, the present situation is not sustainable, and many institutions are at risk of closing. Many professors who are being encouraged or required to teach online are not well-prepared to make that transition. Some university programs are facing the challenges of political uncertainty around immigration and the effect of H1B visas on the number of applications by potential international students. There is a need for both strategic leadership and for the kind of "coaching" that professors and others need to adapt to the changing landscape of education. I want to make a second career of helping develop the kinds of instructional resources that can support sustainable business models and provide adaptive interactive instruction to large numbers of students by automating some of the personalized instruction. Educators and coaches can learn much from others, including software engineers and specialists in social media. I hope to become a member of a team that has the vision and financial resources to transform adult education through applications of technologies to principles of adult education, including multimedia theory, dual coding, and task analysis.|
ISTE Standards and Annotations:
Effective Digital Learning Environments: Your Guide to the ISTE Stardards FOR COACHES
by Jo Williamson
© 2015 International Society for Technology in Education
Instructional Technology Concentration
College of Education
University of West Georgia
"Coaching" image above: Microsoft Bing Image Collection
"Reflection" image above: Pexels.com