StellaPORTO eportfolio

E-learning academics and practice

Encounters with theory

Reflections on a few courses that contributed to putting the pieces together in terms of theory

OMDE 601: Distance education is not online education

OMDE 602 (currently DEPM 609): Everything is a system is a system is a system.
This course was an interesting one, in a way very different way than others. When it started it seemed somewhat disconnected from everything else. I didn’t enjoy the dry readings as much, and I realize that some of that was because I took right in the beginning. It was actually after this experience, that I suggested to Gene that this course should require students to take a couple of courses before, so they would be able to get a feelings of the different pieces that compose the system, before they actually look at the system and its intricacies. This course because of its content was the one which allowed me to use some of my technical background, in using Object-orientation, the recursive aspect of defining systems, and UML to define a DE system. The was a very enriching experience. I was not able to recover the electronic version of the papers I wrote for this class, but fortunately I had hard copies. I scanned them and now they can be found within my Epsilen portfolio, within the ‘course work’ folder.

OMDE 603: It took be a while to decide to take this course, which seems to be an incoherency, given my background. Judy Roberts taught the course, and the word was out that she was a ‘tough’ instructor. I have to say that Judy taught me, more than anyone else, how to follow instructions when doing an assignment, and being objective about what is asked. She was also the one who provided students with more accurate feedback. Her level of details was amazing, and all of it was very useful to be employed in further work. I thank her for that! The line that remains from 603 – Managing technology is beyond technology – resonated closely to my work at UMUC and to many of the projects was involved in. It also contributed strongly to one of my publications – Ensuring Technological Quality in Online Programs at University of Maryland University College – published in the Proceedings of the ICDE World Conference 2006, in Rio de Janeiro.

OMDE 606: This was one of those courses that I had to start more than once… I also left it to the end of the program, possibly because the word was out that the course could be hard. I do think the initial part kind of scares you, because you think you will have to build complicated spreadsheets all along the course. But, this is totally not the case. Thomas Huelsmann is an INCREDIBLE instructor. Possibly the best when it comes to providing rich responses and content in his interaction with students. I was amazed. I learned from the back stage that he uses software to keep tabs on citations and all, but still, there is a lot of extremely rich interaction in this course, more than any other I took or taught for that matter. I could be simplistic, and say that the line that stays from this course is something like this… Distance education has a cost and it can be hard to compute. But this is somewhat simplistic, I must say. The course deals with the cost of education in general, and goes on to study the entire costing structure and analysis of educational endeavors. Despite the hectic time in my life, while I was taking this class, I learned a lot. Some samples of work in this class can be found within my Epsilen e-portfolio, under the folder named ‘course work’.

DEPM 625: Distance education, development and social impact. This was the last before the capstone. The style of the course actually resembles well the dynamics of doing a big project, like the one we do in the capstone. The whole set-up for a research question, and creating the literature review, and start working in parts of the project, should in fact be adopted as part of the capstone, because it helps the organization and the focus. In this course, I was suggested by Thomas to select a topic related to Brazil. This was actually a good option, since I had worked tremendously in the paper with Zane Berge, that also dealt with Brazilian distance education. In DEPM 625, I chose a topic of distance education being used for teacher training in Brazil. The work on this project was very stimulating, and put me in contact with a lot of things that are happening in my own country that I was not aware. This paper, as a sample of work in this course, can be found within my Epsilen e-portfolio, under the folder named ‘course work’.

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