Standard Four
Professional Development & Program Evaluation

Chairs aligned in an auditorium

Reflection:

The ISTE Standard 4 specifies that, "Technology coaches conduct needs assessments, develop technology-related professional learning programs, and evaluate the impact on instructional practice and student learning." Standard 4 includes three annotations. Collectively, the annotations address needs assessment, best practices regarding teaching, learning, and assessment; principles of adult education; and the evaluation of professional learning programs.

The first paper includes summaries of three published studies of student motivations in online classes and the challenges teachers face in creating presence and maintaining student engagement. I took the opportunity to frame the paper as a challenge related to instructional psychology but also to the larger perspectives that technology coaches need to consider when promoting and guiding innovations. The beliefs of technology coaches should be informed by research and best practices regarding effective teaching. The second paper is a lengthy explanation of the challenges faculty members face in trying to design not only good courses but good curriculums. Ideally, the curriculum design of a program preceds the design of courses. This is in the spirit of backward design and designing with the goal in mind. But it is unusual to encounter a program of study in which courses do not already exist. Faculty members are naturally emotionally and practically invested in the content and activities in their existing courses. It is much easier to modify a course incrementally over time than to suddenly made major changes involved in the transition from content-based instruction to competencies-based instruction; from face-to-face instruction to online instruction; and toward making the changes necessary to align course learning objectives to curriculum-level learning objectives. And while the diversity of the faculty members of a program is valuable, diversity may contribute to different perspectives regarding what is to be taught and how to teach. Faculty members may experience a loss of autonomy and may resist modifying how and what they teach to help create a coherent overall program. The time required to meet with colleagues to work through such issues takes away from the time available to focus on teaching classes. Programs that are NASPAA accredited must engage in these activities including continual program-level assessment and adjustments to continue to be professionally accredited. Technology coaches and others must be mindful that the needs of students in a program can change over time. The composition of the body of students in a program can change as recruitment may become more competitive. Available resources may become more constrained and administrative pressures may become increasingly driven by financial considerations. All of this requires faculty members to try to balance teaching responsibilities with collaborative and administrative responsibilities.

The two papers together are evidence that as a technology coach I understand student needs and have business sense and "political" awareness. These insights are necessary to help others conduct needs assessments, develop technology-related professional learning programs, and evaluate the impact on instructional practice and student learning. Both assignments primarily reflect my commitment to Field-based Inquiry, as per the Conceptual Framework.

Artifacts:

Artifact Title: Effective Teaching in the 21st Century: Strategies to Enhance Engagement with Online Students
Artifact Description: This paper reports some of the challenges colleges and universities are facing and the need for there to be support for instructors to make the transition to online teaching. The focus is on the challenges of creating presence across transactional distances to provide quality learning services, retain students, and assure the relevance and viability of programs of academic study delivered online. Following a review of three published articles, the paper conclues that engaging students in online learning environments involves costly and time-consuming work.
Course Number and Title: CEPD 6101 Psychology of Classroom Learning
Relevant Conceptual Framework Descriptors:
Inquisitive
Adaptive
Proactive
Artifact Link: Artifact 1

 

Artifact Title: Curriculum Design and Program Assessment in Public Administration
Artifact Description: This paper is an overview of curriculum design and program assessment as shaped by the history of the field of study, the search for a coherent "philosophy" of the academic field of public administration, and contemporary issues in public affairs education regarding curriculum design and program assessment. (from Abstract of the paper)
Course Number and Title: CURR 6575 Curriculum Trends and Issues
Relevant Conceptual Framework Descriptors:
Inquisitive
Adaptive
Proactive
Artifact Link: Artifact 2

 


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