To begin this final reflection, I must emphatically state that this has been an amazing journey. When I first began considering whether or not to apply for the MAEd in Instructional Technology program, I knew I loved two things: education and technology. I assumed that this program would be ideal, as it seemed this program was the intersection between my two passions. What I did not realize at the time, however, was the depth and breadth of content that I would end up being immersed within.
Beginning with EDTC 6010 and EDTC 6020 in the fall of 2017, I was given a taste of both the instructional design and instructional technology mindsets at once. Honestly, I was not fully aware of the emphasis placed on instructional design. In conjunction with 6020, and then moving on to EDTC 6025 and EDTC 6037 in the spring of 2018, I became more engaged with the topic and realized its importance to the instructional technology facilitator (ITF). Reflecting back upon all of this, I am thankful that I have had the opportunity to, not just once, but multiple times, learn and apply these tenets to professional practice.
The summer of 2018 was a fast-paced, yet content-rich time for me. Starting with EDTC 6139, I had the chance to explore and critique various learning tutorials much like an ITF may in his or her official role. By doing so, I ran across various strategies and tools for reviewing educational applications that I was able to save for future use. My other summer courses included EDUC 6482, EDUC 6001, and SPED 6002. These courses helped to reinforce other specifics of the ITF role, such as how he or she may account for special needs situations, how to ensure equality and inclusion of diverse mindsets, and how to put into practice valid methods and reasoning when conducting research in the field.
The fall of 2018 brought me back into the core content of the program. I found enjoyment with EDTC 6070, which brought to the forefront many of the concepts of digital literacy. I had the opportunity to dive deeper into specifics of topics such as digital citizenship, which I am already putting into practice in my current internship with Biltmore, and is the topic of my community outreach project. EDTC 6149 was quite the special course, where I found much appreciation for the inclusion of what I might call “management strategies” of the ITF role. There was a lot of great information shared and applied in this course, and I only wish there was a second part to this course to continue these studies.
This now brings me to the current semester, where I have completed my internship course, EDTC 6992, with Asheville City Schools. I delivered an online PD module on the use of the Google Science Journal app in the classroom for educators. I also created a presentation on digital citizenship for the community in March. Other activities are outlined in my course proposal and are in the final report as well. The other course I am taking, ADED 6550, I feel has succinctly allowed me the opportunity to wrap the program with creating plans for leadership opportunities. I am extremely appreciative of having this course included within the program requirements, as I see these skills are absolutely necessary for the future ITF. My internship with Biltmore has aligned well with this course, as I have had the opportunity to complete the Manager/Director Leadership Training and Supervisory Training with the company.
My final thoughts on the program succession simply include a few things:
I love the inclusion of both the instructional technology and instructional design elements.
I would strongly prefer a follow-up to EDTC 6149, simply to extend or continue the ideas introduced there. EDTC 6149 itself is an excellent course and the professor did a wonderful job with the plethora of information presented to us.
Upon reviewing various ITF jobs (instructional designer, LMS coordinator, etc.), I consistently see two areas that are job requirements where I have had little opportunities to explore or gain practice with:
Skills with content authoring tools
Skills with the back-end administration of an LMS (not programming aspects, but more so with user settings, course registration, building reports, etc.)
To conclude this summative reflection, I must extend a sincere note of appreciation and gratitude to all of my professors for their guidance, support, and time spent helping me to grow throughout the course of this program. I cannot thank them enough for all of the hard work they have put into building and sustaining such a fine, engaging program, especially to those of us students as distance education learners. I would like to also offer specific thankfulness to my wonderful advisor, Dr. Slagter Van Tryon. She is an amazing person to work with, as I’ve had the pleasure to take three courses with her and get advice from start to finish. Now I know all those kind words my mother said about her are, for sure, absolutely true!