This is the most important course in the masters program for students, especially for me. It marks great achievements and growth in the subject and signals a beginning to practice in the field. This has also been the most challenging course, as it does not incorporate much of Wedemeyer's empathy theory. During my research, Mills, R. (2004) put this in perspective, stating (paraphrased), learning doesn't have to be difficult because one is at the graduate level. It is not necessary to have to jump hurdles to be successful or to reach the finish line. This was one such course—very stressful—for this learner, and why my focus in learning will always be to incorporate the concepts from OMDE 608, learner supports in distance education and training. From the beginning of my online learning journey, my concern with this mode of delivery was how to meet students where they are when learning takes place in different spaces and time. Holmberg, (2009) also put this in perspective stating, "helping students to learn is any educator's most important task... that must be considered at the planning stage" (p. 46).
The other course that is significant to the capstone is DEPM 604, leadership in distance education. It provided a foundation for the concept of student autonomy that places responsibility for learning on the student along with the need for instituting skills that document learning. In distance learning, where delivery is in separate spaces, this should be practiced through the use of a learning journal, blog, or e-portfolio and maintained throughout the online program. Although, this was not encouraged after the first two courses in the MDE program, it is a practice of successfully learning. Consequently, it caused a slight disconnect in my cumulative knowledge. However, as in supervision, learned in DEPM 604, clear directions are important and more significant when followed or instilled in the learner. This is also my practice and why my interest is to prepare new learners to the online infrastructure. I also constantly tell freshman; although not practiced myself in this program, no one is going to lead you by the hand, you must show initiative and create your own learning, find techniques and strategies that work for you, employ them from the beginning of your educational career. Although, it is important to know what is required, not only from course to course, but it is especially critical at the end where all learning should eventually focus or center.
During the pre-week, after reviewing the course deliverables and the course requirements, I knew that I had not prepared well for this journey (OMD 670), and was a little apprehensive about moving forward. The semester began with many challenges, in spite of my enthusiasm. I became overwhelmed, and frustrated with the many demands, and especially with such little time to obtain structure. I dug in, and set my usual expectations for the course.
The feedback on the assignments,...