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Reflections Of The Masters In Distance Education

3170 words - 13 pages

My journey in the Masters of Distance Education Teaching and Training program began summer of 2009 when I completed the Webtycho introductory course to become familiar with the online course management structure, a course that is mandatory for all new online learners. Although I completed the orientation twice before I decided on a major, I liked the convenience of learning from home, and the opportunity to complete an introductory course to prepare me for the learning infrastructure. This mode of learning presented avenues of convenience and flexibility allowing me to obtain my education, and not have to leave home or my children to attend college.
I decided on a major in distance ...view middle of the document...

I was anxious and a little intimidated about entering the online learning environment, fearing the physical separation of the instructor and student. As a new student to online learning, I was not quite sure of learning in an environment where I would not have my instructor physically in my reach and available for questions and support every day. I learned from Moore & Kearsley (2005) that my anxieties were normal, especially for inexperienced distance learners, and for adult learners. I was quite surprised when I found that the instructors understood my anxieties and were as patient and caring as the instructors I was afraid to leave in my face-to-face learning environment.
This mode of learning required students to simultaneously complete several tasks and assignments in what seemed like, every other day, unlike the traditional mode of learning. This also began my first experience and contact with online terminology. I learned about the autonomous learner and synchronous and asynchronous learning environments where students created learning, selecting, analyzing, and reflecting on course content in discussion boards, and assignments. This began my interests in developing course designs that focused on student supports. Several classes gave me hands on experience in creating course design, and evaluating learning and course management systems. This was phenomenal. In OMDE 603 I learned about the technology in DE—beyond print, written, TV, broadcast, video, audio, excreta. This is discussed later in more detail.
DETT 607 began my journey in course design and development. I developed an orientation course for freshman. It combined theory and practice of learning and was evidenced in curriculum, design and structure. It also incorporated philosophical approaches to instruction systems, such as behaviorist, constructivist, and connectivism, the latter signifying the digital era. This experience was very beneficial in my use of Blackboard where I facilitate a blended learning environment. Students not only matriculate in face-to-face environments, they were also required to participate in discussion boards and in the use of presentation software that was part of the course management system.
OMDE 608 was the first course that focused on my interests in the MDE program—student supports. This course substantiated by belief that student supports are critical for student success. The literature from this course presented by LaPadula (2003) stated that including student support is to "ease student adjustment to college and contribute to the student's academic success (p. 119)." This says it all. I began to deal with many of the challenges I encountered without anxiety. I no longer found it frustrating when my posts went with no response from a fellow student or the professor. I understood, this was atypical of the mode of autonomous learning—this was how students learned, reflecting, and analyzing comments. This is also when...

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