Course Reflections

Foundations of Distance Education (OMDE 601)

The Foundations of Distance Education and E-learning course opened my eyes to the rich history of DE, gave me a good primer on the underlying theories of the field, and allowed me to explore and begin to learn about DE’s application. I appreciated the democratic nature and vision of distance education and E-learning: how it brings education to those who might not otherwise be able to access it, and therefore to meet social and ethical responsibilities. This practical advantage and strength has resonated with me and, as I have moved through the program, allowed me to realistically conceptualize applications of DE and E-learning. The course was an excellent introduction to the field for me and to the MDE program, and I have been able to draw upon the concepts I learned during future MDE courses.

Technology in DE and E-learning (OMDE603)

The Technology in Distance Education and E-learning course is where I continued to learn what DE is and means, the possibilities that it enables and has enabled in the past, the ways in which technology inform and have informed DE and its evolution, and why some technologies may be most suitable for particular settings. Each era’s technologies have enabled different possibilities and applications of DE, and this has developed in an iterative fashion alongside the growing theories and methods of the field. We may now be in a golden age of DE and E-learning because Internet and other digital technologies provide for additional practical needs to be met, and for the field to significantly grow. Previous technologies can also now be reinterpreted and used in more efficient and cost-effective ways.

Teaching & Learning in Online Distance Education (610)

The Teaching and Learning in Online Distance Education course is where I delved into the literature that describes processes by which teaching and learning occur when teacher and learners are separated by time and space. I read many articles in order to make connections, think and find answers. I put myself at the center of this intellectual exercise, to critically consider my readings and what they meant to me and to distance learners and teachers. I found this class to be difficult and challenging, and one that stretched me far beyond my comfort zone. I found the work to be immensely fulfilling intellectually and rewarding.

Instructional Design (DETT 607)

The Instructional Design and Course Development in Distance Education and E-learning course allowed me to learn the underlying theories and practice of instructional design and course development. I learned how to apply that knowledge to examine and describe a particular population in need of a training solution, and to conceptualize and design a learning solution. This course was an immensely useful challenge for me. In order to successfully complete the course, I gained the necessary knowledge and then applied it by taking a systems approach to design and justify a practical solution for a training need.

Library and Intellectual Property (DETT 611)

The Library and Intellectual Property Issues in Distance Education and E-learning course is where I learned about copyright and its various aspects as they relate to DE. I was able to understand the evolution and nuances of copyright, analyze policies and practices, perform case studies and consider how practical needs may be addressed. This class was a multi-faceted combination of facts and analysis, intellectual thought and practice, policy and implementation, legality and ethics, historical and current aspects of intellectual property and library services. I gained relevant information and facts and then learned why those facts and circumstances matter and how and when they may need to be addressed.

Management & Leadership (DEPM 604)

The Leadership in Distance Education and E-learning course allowed me to gain practical knowledge of change management and implementation, informed analysis and planning, and other aspects of leadership and effective management. I learned how to influence stakeholders and decision makers and to plan for and implement distance education programs in a systematic and impactful manner. The skills I gained here are particularly important because DE and E-learning is increasingly popular and successful programs require effective planning and development, leadership and management, and development and communication of vision and missions for DE and E-learning.

Cost and Economics (OMDE 606)

The Costs and Economics of Distance Education and E-learning course allowed me to learn various aspects of cost and economics of DE. I appreciated the overall economics of DE and E-learning as well as the different components of distance education and how costs for those components inter-relate and influence each other. In addition to learning how to completely and effectively prepare justifiable and accurate cost plans, I learned how cost could be reduced by and while increasing quality of DE. For instance, effective learner support is valuable and provides high return on investment, by increasing student retention, and reducing overall costs over time.

Learner Support in DE & Training (OMDE 608)

The Learner Support in Distance Education and Training course is where I learned the importance of learner support and its various dimensions, aspects, and components. I learned that student support is essential to successful distance education and E-learning, particularly as learners and teachers are physically separated from each other and learners need to be supported in order to prevent feelings of frustration and isolation or falling behind, and to increase motivation. I learned the different types of learner support and how to plan, implement, and assess them and ensure learners use them as needed.

Training & Learning with Multimedia (DETC 620)

The Training and Learning with Multimedia course allowed me to learn how multimedia should be used in DE and E-learning settings. I learned several components of multimedia including theoretical underpinnings of multimedia as related to pedagogy. I learned to critique multimedia learning objects, and as a consequence learned how such modules should be designed to best address learner needs. I learned the appropriate and effective use of multimedia including justification, planning, and design so that desired learning objectives are achieved. Multimedia holds immense potential and when used properly within DE and E-learning contexts and with proper understanding of pedagogic practices, is effective for learning.

Online Learning in the Workplace (DETT 621)

The Online Learning and Development in the Workplace course was my opportunity to learn how DE and E-learning may be used in the workplace and, in combination with knowledge gained in other courses in MDE program, how to develop and implement E-learning in that setting. I came to appreciate DE and E-learning from a business perspective, including how implementation of such programs may interface with other components and structures of an organization. I learned the various uses and dimensions of online learning in the workplace including training, performance improvement, and effective knowledge management.

Teaching & Learning in K-12 Virtual Schools (EDTC 650)

The Teaching and Learning in K-12 Virtual Schools course is where I gained appreciation of a different environment of DE and E-learning beyond higher education and business organizations. I learned about National and State policies and practices for K-12 virtual education, and gained a deep understanding of the current state of K-12 virtual education and the ways in which it is poised to grow in the coming years. I learned how DE and E-learning is used in K-12 schools, the planning and components that are required, particular populations that may benefit most from it, and the methods and models by which it may be blended with traditional face-to-face K-12 education.

Portfolio and Research Project (OMDE 670)

In my Capstone course of the MDE program, I learned to recognize an area of Distance Education and E-learning that needed research and that I found interesting, identify my research questions, prepare a research proposal and outline, perform an extensive review of the literature, and write thoughtfully to answer the questions I had posed. I gained new research skills as well as knowledge that I did not have prior to this class, and that come as a result of successfully completing a Master’s research project in the humanities in general and DE and E-learning in particular. The experience was tough and exciting. I am thankful to my teacher for her exceptional guidance, and to my writing coach for her help.

I trust you will enjoy reading my thesis entitled Reducing Online Course Dropout in Community College. Please feel free to contact me to discuss further.