Kerstin Howard e-Portfolio

MDE Reflection

Personal and Professional MDE Student Development

I have come a long way fro that uncertain and scared student that enrolled in her first semester of online education in the MDE program. My initial concept of online education included meeting online certain days a week through two-way communication media, so imagine my surprise and shock of the asynchronous environment through one-way communication (WebTycho). I thought that learning without live communication or instructor-led presentations would be too difficult which almost led to me dropping out of the program without even completing the first course. It took two semesters to rid my preconceived notions of the field and realize how each aspect of distance education leads towards more favorable learning experiences for the autonomous learner. I have learned so much about myself during my study at the University of Maryland, University College in the MDE program, and it has been a truly one of a kind experience. I learned so much about myself as a student, person, and as a working professional. Upon completing each course in the MDE program, I was anxious and excited to see what new element of distance education would be of focus in the next course. Now that I have completed the MDE program, I know that I am ultimately responsible for researching and identifying the next new and exciting aspect of distance education.

What I have Learned

The MDE program taught me so much about the many critical components of distance education. The instructors of the MDE program were top-notch practitioners of the field. These instructors pushed for provoked thought within me and were quick to help when I had trouble understanding any concept. They also were quick to give praise when I demonstrated fine work and research, an invoked thought within my peers…for that I am truly thankful. The instructors demonstrated pure leadership and served as great role models to how future distance education practitioners should perform and become leaders themselves in the field. As I journeyed through each course of the MDE program, I progressively learned that asynchronous discussion provokes deeper thought by allowing each student time to contribute complete answers because of the ability to reflect and research concepts. I have also learned about how precious distance education is to learners who are uncomfortable in a physical educational setting, do not have the means to travel, lead busy schedules, enjoy flexible schedules, enjoy deeper discussion and thought-provoked answers, and like to feel primarily responsible for their own learning. It was very interesting to learn how distance education began through minimal correspondence communication and has evolved to networked communication. I could see that the leadership, research and ground work laid by innovators in distance education such as Otto Peters, Terry Anderson, Michael G. Moore and Borje Holmberg has made this evolution possible.  Seeing the top-notch work that these innovators have done in distance education has really inspired me to continue diligent research after I have completed the program, and become the next leader within my field.

Goals for Future & Plans for Achievement

My goal in life is to be a Technical Training Consultant. I envision working for a large corporation, and then eventually starting my own business. In that organization, I want to be the go-to person that puts a plan in action when it comes to improving training with technology. In this context , I would carefully cater a media-decision analysis tool to fit the learning goals of the customer and the student demographic along with that customer’s technological and monetary capabilities.

Click here to view courses in the MDE program.

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