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Ahead of Our Time! Welcome to the School of Education and Leadership
Written by CityU Associate Faculty member, Corll Miller Morrissey.
In writing the opening announcement to ETC 693 I found myself reflecting on what a leader CityU has been and how students can use their experience to inform P12 struggling with distance learning.
Welcome to ETC 693, the final course in the research and capstone series.
Under the unusual circumstances of COVID-19, our online community of researchers is well-positioned to support one another’s self-directed inquiry. A historical note of interest: Several decades ago CityU made it policy that every course that faculty design had to be deliverable in face-to-face, online, and hybrid mode. We were thinking about flexibility for student and partner needs and interruptions due to traffic or storms at the time. It forced us to think responsively and imaginatively and to ask questions of our instructional practice. Some of these questions:
- What are the best practices of self-directed and distance learning?
- How do we avoid the early computer learning mistakes of “textbook on a screen” and drill-and-kill direct teaching?
- How can emerging technologies connect students, faculty, and resources?
- How will we know what is effective?
CityU bravely went where most universities did not yet want to go. I had the pleasure of being a part of the evolution in the School of Education — in design, implementation, and later in the evaluation of what is working. Here’s what we learned:
- A more inclusive and equitable dialog often emerges in asynchronous collaboration (Discussion Board, peer review, group projects);
- A university can apply distance practices to partner with students, school districts, and businesses to address unique problems and increase access to resources;
- Maximum flexibility for faculty to be imaginative and responsive to student needs is best supported by clear outcomes and rubrics;
- Personalized demonstration of competency is enhanced as faculty and students practice with emerging technologies;
- Librarians, library resources, and 24-7 tech support are essential to supporting self-directed and distance learning;
- Students and faculty who are most successful and report being satisfied with distance learning engage “early and often;”
- Those who engage in peer review and asynchronous collaboration exhibit increased synthesis of learning from others and fewer rewrites of their own work.
These are the results I observed and could document. The Standards Board (PESB) saw CityU as a pioneer in partnering and solving teacher shortage issues through the flexibility and responsiveness of our model. The CityU Library was recognized multiple times by state evaluators of colleges of education for their exemplary resources and support.
We now see P12 schools and universities dive into how best to support students at-a-distance. I encourage reflection on how your experience with self-directed learning and asynchronous dialog can inform responsive practice in schools and with students/families at-a-distance.
I am enriched by the imaginative thinking and the discussions with each of you for flexing your capstone projects. This quarter we will continue both 1-on-1 via phone and group dialog in the Discussion Forum. Peer review and access to the CityU online resources will become more essential. What an opportunity in these challenging times!
– Corll Miller Morrissey
Bio: Corll Miller Morrissey is an Associate Faculty member in the School of Education, teaching research and supporting grad students to ask important questions of their practice. Corll has taught and been a program administrator in public school ad higher ed., in traditional and alternative settings, urban and rural. She had the pleasure of working with both M.Ed. and teacher certification candidates. She also worked in educational policy, program evaluation, and accreditation. Her theory of change is that action research is beyond a one-off expectation for a degree; it is a valuable habit of practice to guide educational decisions. Corll’s own graduate action research was on self-initiating behaviors of middle school students. Later she conducted action research as a part of whatever position she was in, for it became a set of professional behaviors that informed decisions and assured credibility. Corll loves helping grad students to see the power in this approach to our work.