I met wonderful professors and peers during my first year at the University of Georgia. The supportive and encouraging atmosphere is one of the strengths in the LDT (Learning, Design, and Technology) program. I am becoming a researcher in the program.
EDIT 9990 courses laid the foundation for conducting my future research by helping me build a knowledge base in the instructional design field, and creating a core for my understanding of structural design in order to facilitate teaching English online. WFED 8990 and EDIT 8990 courses were guiding posts to direct me where to go. The lectures of faculty members in the WFED 8990 class were inspiring since they showed me passion towards research. Incubation and vexation sessions in EDIT 8990 were meaningful because I could refine my research by sharing my research and listening to other doctoral students’ research.
EDIT 8190 design classes were exemplary courses in my program. The courses were what I expected to learn before I joined the program. The readings in the courses were great because I learned what design is through them. The mini projects and research projects in the courses eventually helped me develop my own research.
Areas of Improvement
The following are desiderata (“desired things”) for my program of study to facilitate my learning experiences further.
- The necessity to prepare for mobile learning
People are learning from their mobile devices such as cell phones and tablets. Furthermore, many students in secondary schools have their own smart phones. Those smart phones are mobile computers capable of many things, from browsing information on the Internet, to communicating with other people, and creating media. Although doctoral students often make educational interventions, it seems that they are often disregarded if those interventions work in mobile learning environment. As instructional designers, we cannot be blind to mobile learning environments because more learning will happen in mobile devices. LDT program needs to be equipped with iOS, Android and Windows mobile devices. Companies such as Apple, Samsung, and Microsoft are ready to offer free regular lectures on how to use their devices for teaching and learning. If the students in the LDT program do not understand mobile devices and learning environments, it means that they disregard the mobile computers in students’ hands. If the LDT program leaves the understanding of mobile learning environments and mobile devices to the autonomy of each student, the students will have to relearn the mobile technology and related theories when they face real K-12 and higher education.
- The necessity to raise awareness towards cultures and social justice
Technology is blind to cultural differences, therefore we must develop it in a way to process cultural diversity. For example, something as simple as a hamburger at McDonald’s in actuality can vary from country to country in its labeling and making. It seems that we think that educational interventions using technologies are universal but like the burgers, technologies vary according to cultural processing. A concept closely tied to cultural diversity is social justice since cultural diversity entails power relationships, which often privileges the dominants. However, the field of instructional design seems to focus less on social justice issues. I got the impression that the LDT program is color-blind, which means that it does not pay attention to social inequality issues according to races. Technologies can help solve educational inequalities. To do that, the LDT program must focus more on educating their students to be culturally responsive. When a wonderful education intervention using technologies cannot be used universally, it is not wonderful anymore.