Educational Journey

August 5, 2010

Aha moment – online learning

Filed under: General,What I learned today! — Cyndy @ 5:03 pm

Through my own experience with online education, I have come to have a greater understanding of the needs of myself as a learner. Although I may never have admitted it before, social interaction is a key element of the learning experience. As a natural introvert, I tend avoid much social interaction and prefer to do most of my learning by myself. At least, I thought I did. As MacKerarcher (2004) explains in her interpretation of Kolb’s learning theory, the learning cycle consist of four phases, which each individual uses with tendencies toward efficiencies or inefficiencies of those phases. The active experimentation phase includes sharing new ideas with others and asking questions to clarify meanings. I am most inefficient in this area. Additionally, this is the area that online programs have difficulty facilitating.

I have taken online instruction from two universities now. Both have included some attempt to incorporate social interaction into the program. One incorporated a large component of team-based assignments while the other incorporated field experience assignments. Both models have pros and cons. Overall, the most important element lacking in both programs was an understanding of the importance of this element of learning and assistance to the student in facilitating the experience and overcoming the challenges.

Reference

MacKeracher, D. (2004).  Making sense of adult education. (pp. 71-91). University of Toronto Press: Toronto Canada.

July 24, 2010

Learning about learning

Filed under: General,What I learned today! — Cyndy @ 4:20 pm

Learning about learning is so insightful. I don’t know why we don’t spend more time teaching students to be more efficient learners, and teachers to be more aware of various learning strategies that students use. I am digging into Kolb’s model of learning styles dealing with abstract vs. concrete dimensions of learning and active vs. reflective dimensions of learning. My own learning and teaching styles suddenly makes sense. I can be a better learner and a better teacher now.

April 26, 2010

Online education

Filed under: General,What I learned today! — Cyndy @ 3:38 pm

With positive experiences in online education, I have not carefully paid attention to its weaknesses until recently. As I move further into my pursuit of a doctoral degree, I wish to have more satisying conversations about class topics than can be accomplished in an asynchronous environment. Each student is required to post two “substantial” replies to other student’s response to discussion questions. A typical response generally follows this pattern: I agree with you. You stated, ” … ” That is so important. If anyone dares to pose a question or disagree, a response is unlikely as the class has moved on to the next question and the next week’s requirement.

Additionally, in an online environment student’s all see each other’s work. While this could be a motivator for some students, I generally see it as a reminder that I work way too hard. I certainly do not want to sound arrogant; however, some of my class mates would not pass my undergraduate classes if they were to submit similar work. I do not know what grades these students get in their doctoral classes, but they continue to submit poor work so I assume they are passing. This leads me to wonder if this degree really means anything?

Online education is convenient. It brings education to those who might not otherwise get an education, but it has some serious weaknesses that need attention.

June 23, 2009

Learning styles

Filed under: Dissertation Topic Exploration,What I learned today! — Cyndy @ 2:56 pm

It is all too easy to simply assume how a student learns best or how they prefer to learn. As a teacher, we remember how we learned and model ourselves after our favorite teachers. How many students are lost, because their learning style is not understood?

Much research has been done on the topic of learning styles. Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences, Kolb’s experiential learning theory are just two of the more commonly applied theories among numerous theories, constructs and variations of theories. Some of these theories use simple, easy to understand language that can be interpreted and applied in a classroom. Other theories use odd terminology to define  constructs that classify learners such as assimilators or divergers. In a college such as the one I teach at, most of the instructors are educated in their specialty. They have advanced degrees in design, art, business, science or whatever. Very few have formal education in the field of education; therefore, the terminology must be commonly understood in order to be meaningful.  Just one more reason this dissertation topic is appropriate.

June 19, 2009

Reflection

Filed under: What I learned today! — Cyndy @ 1:55 pm

The writing course is almost over. I,ve learned that APA is like  evil monster waiting around every corner – waiting to catch me doing something wrong. There are so many rules and exceptions to rules. Every rule has to be looked up and carefully read. Sometimes the example given is not what you think it is. It’s crazy!

June 6, 2009

Organization, balance, & horse races

Filed under: Personal challenges,What I learned today! — Cyndy @ 11:45 pm

I learned three things today!

Most doctoral researchers advise that organization is important when writing a dissertation. That seems logical. Today I actually learned some methodology regarding that organization. It’s easy, simply color code papers by topics, subtopics and agree or refute position. Then you can use highlighters to note the important elements.

I also learned that balance is important even while trying to obtain a doctoral degree. School administration may push to get you to the finish line quickly, but most teachers agree that only you know the pace you need to keep and how much you can sacrifice at any one time. One of the Doctors mentioned that in the group of 10 students that he studied with, only 2 were still married at the end of their program. I am not willing to sacrifice my marriage. It’s not worth it.

Lastly, I learned not to get in the way of wedding ditchers that are hell-bent on watching a horse race.

May 13, 2009

New word & more

Filed under: What I learned today! — Cyndy @ 3:49 pm

Today I learned a new word, and I learned to be more careful with my papers.

New word: Dissertator – a form of the word dissertation, someone who disserts. A dissertation is a lengthy discussion of some subject.

Used in a sentence: When I begin my dissertation, I will be a dissertator. 

Reference

dissertate. (2009). In Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary. Retrieved May 13, 2009, from http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/dissertate

Also learned to more carefully edit my papers and double check all of the grammar and spelling settings in Microsoft Word. Feedback from instructor was very helpful, but I have much to learn about APA style. It seems so awkward to mention an author only by last name within the body of the paper. It also seems awkward and repetitive to refer to certain things so specifically over and over again. I’m sure I will get used to it, and begin to look for those common mistakes.

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