Education as an Avanced Field of Study
Focuses on the critical evaluation, interpretation, and uses of published research in education as a field of study. Offers students an opportunity to explore the relationship between theory and practice and the changing nature of knowledge, to examine peer-reviewed research articles, to learn the "rules" and methods through which these scholarly works are developed, and to begin to apply research findings to real problems and issues in education. As part of this course, students have an opportunity to use an ePortfolio as they begin to document their development as scholars, practitioners, and leaders in the field of education.
A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new.
I began this adventure on little but a dream and a resolute determination. Professionally I have no qualifications in this world of higher education, but lack of credentials has never stopped me from anything. A tenacious nature has its benefits. So here I am, soaking up this experience through every pore and reveling in the opportunity.
Preparations and Opportunities Disguised as Mistakes
I tried to prepare for what I didn’t know. Syllabus requested early, books ordered and waiting with color-coded tabs carefully labeled by course and by week. My agenda was poised for the work, just anticipating the assignments that would roll in. I read the textbook for one course out loud, recording it for play back during my commute the week that a given chapter was due. The other I skimmed in order to give myself a broad overview of what was to come. I thought I couldn’t have been more prepared.
That was my first mistake. I either overestimated my organizational abilities or underestimated the intensity of my first two courses in this program. My agenda could not contain the assignments for both courses in detail so I took to using shorthand. That was my second mistake. I wrote a beautiful paper for my first assignment in my other class---and used the wrong chapter in doing so. I was horrified when I realized what I had done and was thankful that my professor was gracious enough to offer me an opportunity to re-write. I missed several smaller details in both of my courses those first few weeks, which kept me struggling to keep up for the remainder of the semester. In the interim I purchased a second agenda, one for each class and wrote remaining assignments within them in extravagant detail.
So many people believe that mistakes are about failure, but they are not. Mistakes are about discovery. When viewed through a positive lens, mistakes are opportunities—to learn. These mistakes have taught me to be more careful in translating assignments from my screen into my agenda; they have taught me that those little details are crucial to creating exemplary work and that is what I strive to do every time I write. These mistakes have compelled me to engage more fully with my online environment, to explore the nooks and crannies of our folders and provided links.
Insights, Skills and Abilities Gained
Mistakes come in other forms too. The ones that you don’t recognize except in hindsight. My educational narrative, affectionately re-titled Mariposa was actually the catalyst for change in my final presentation The Importance of Reading and Writing: With a View to the Underprepared Student. In writing my narrative I explored my childhood through the lens of education, what it means to me today, and what brought about this meaning. I always believed that books and reading saved me from my childhood, but it wasn’t until a conversation between my professor and I about my narrative that I had an epiphany about my presentation. Oh but dare I? Could I take such a risk?
The answer is yes. I could. And I did. I walked away from seven weeks worth of work on the worthy topic of academic freedom and traded it all in to follow my heart. It’s how I made it to this program and my gut told me it was how I would create a successful presentation. So I explored the path to college success with reading and writing skills as the guide—and I found out that there is some truth in that cliché statement, that if you do what you love you’ll never work a day in your life. The researching for and writing of that presentation never felt like work, it felt like curling up in a comfortable chair with a favorite book. It felt like home. The technical aspects of that presentation, well… that’s for the next paragraph.
There is some work to be done there. My usually technically adept self stumbled clumsily and fell face first without even having the decency to extend my arms to soften the fall. I started with PowerPoint and then abandoned it for Prezi. My topic stalled and when the new topic arose I returned to my nemesis—PowerPoint 2008 on my Mac. We argued bitterly (albeit silently but I digress), I clicked, typed and cajoled but PowerPoint stood smug and defiant. I had no issues with the visual aspects, I knew all of the design tricks but I had never before attempted a voice over onto a presentation and PowerPoint seemed to recognize this and yet remained suspiciously silent about my options. Thanks be to the considerate classmate who with patience walked me through my options and helped me find an audio feature that was actually functional. My skill here is improving… at a slow crawl yes, but one must also learn to never take a micron of improvement for granted.
Developments and Competencies:
In Relation to Program and Concentration
As my first semester comes to a close I begin to recognize already how much I have gained. With my narrative Mariposa, I have learned how I have come to value education, how my childhood shaped my views. I have learned through the narratives of my peers that though we are all remarkably different in our histories that there is something within each of us that has compelled us to be here today, part of the MeD program at Northeastern. We may have been born continents apart, raised with different languages and contrasting values, but those things do not divide us, no, instead they have brought us together.
Through literature and art I have spent a lifetime learning about the world. This is reflected in my writing, my design and in my careful consideration of my peers’ contributions. My writing showcases my creativity and my ability to communicate through the written word. The content of my writing highlights not only technical skill, but also my ability to think logically, flexibly and with consideration for the world around me. My art is both creative and logical, and is evident throughout my ePorfolio in my design choices. It is also the backbone for the composition of my presentations in both of my courses, in that the design choices were carefully selected to represent and or support the information contained within them. Color sets tone, images speak volumes and provide direction. Yet these skills are not static. They grow and change as I grow and change.
Change has come through this course, with learning deeply the value and process of research. I had always been aware of research and my first college had taught me the value of using credible sources, however it wasn’t until this course that I truly understood the complexity of the process. This research has been the foundation of every paper I have written this semester. This research has also changed the way I view everyday life, from interactions with my family, to the news I watch on television to the way I approach projects at work. Looking forward I can also see how it will make me a better student for courses to come.
10 Lessons From Einstein - Ned Hardy. (2014). Retrieved from http://nedhardy.com/2012/03/19/10-lessons-from-einstein/
Signature Assignment II - Presentation
The Controversial Presentation was an occasion to experiment with communicating my ideas through sound and image. It was a project filled with challenges and became a learning experience that I will be able to carry with me throughout multiple facets of my life.
The Companion Narrative to the Presentation
Signature Assignment II - Annotated Bibliography
The Annotated Bibliography was a chance to share the best of the research that I studied and present it with a personalized perspective.
Signature Assignment I - Educational Narrative
The Educational Narrative was an opportunity to examine my history, beliefs, values and assumptions about education. It has given me a view into my own positionality and has been pivotal in helping me connect my interests and motivations within the context of the MeD program and my future goals.