I will graduate in December, 2009, with a masters degree in Instructional Technology. The degree program, I’ve said pretty much since my entrance into the program, is really a confluence of a pair of dominant influences in my education and career: computers and teaching.
I started playing around with a Tandy TRS-80 computer in the late 1970s. I learned the BASIC programming language when I was eight years old, and computers were an ever-present facet of my life until I finally read the writing on the wall and took my first tech job in the mid-1990s.
My interest in teaching probably began in 7th grade. I can think of a lot of teachers I had years before that, all the way back to my music teacher in kindergarten. But in 7th grade I had an English teacher, and it’s really the first time I can think of where I began appreciating the role of the teacher, and thought beyond my role as the student – I really got and appreciated what he was trying to do in the class. We’d talk after class about [language and (quality and thought)] (intentional Boolean-esque bracketing and grouping there) – very Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, in retrospect. It’s the first time I can think of that I was actively considering overarching goals of instruction rather than just seeing the lesson in front of my nose.
In 2001, I came back to the University of Tennessee to finish an undergraduate degree that I had started a decade before. I took a part time job with the reference department at the university library, and spent four years’ worth of weekends working at the reference desk. I helped students find research materials, and in many cases helped them learn how to do research in the process.
My undergraduate degree was in journalism, in the College of Communications. I considered continuing in that college; they offered a masters program in convergent media technology that sounded interesting. I decided though that I was really a lot more interested in the specific application of technology to a particular context, rather than in the technology in and of itself. I was interested in how we use tools to teach, and so applied to join the Instructional Technology program in the College of Education.
This overview, then, is of the eleven courses that I chose for my IT curriculum, and how they relate to what I wanted to learn from the outset, and how they’ll apply to what I’m doing professionally. Just mouse over the IT Curriculum page heading in the navigation menu at the top of the page to see and select from the courses (you probably already observed that in getting to this page).