A Drake

Image of an idea represented by a lightbulb

Thanks undergrad years!

I have been amazed at what I have been able to do after these two and a half years, and I am so pleased with the skills I am able to share with others! I used the skills I brought with me from my experience as an undergrad: the ability to organize due dates and prioritize tasks. Many times as a high-schooler, I lost assignments, forgot about homework, and did not meet deadlines. In fact, my high school guidance counselor recommended that I attend Trident Technical College instead of my first choice College of Charleston. I knew what I was capable of accomplishing, and after a gap year, I finally registered for the SAT in time, applied to College of Charleston, and was accepted!  College did indeed teach me the skills that would make me successful later in life as a parent, as a co-founder of a stay-at-home moms group, Girl Scout leader, church volunteer, teacher, and ultimately graduate student. These experiences ultimately help me when I am advising and supervising my own students along their educational journey.


Instructional Design of the program

Throughout this program, I have learned that while the syllabus may look intimidating, the instruction is designed to help you achieve the requisite tasks! Most modules included a variety of resources to help students master the ideas: video, readings, simulations, case studies, discussions, etc. Our instruction included a variety of ways for us to demonstrate our mastery: job aids, wikis, infographics, research papers, and video presentations. In my first semester, I impressed even myself when I was able to explain the three learning theories to my sister casually over the phone. I have been able to incorporate these teaching techniques into my own classes to help my students showcase their learning as well.


Reflection on collaboration

Collaborative learning was an integral part of this program. I had distinctly different collaborative group experiences: one negative, one negative that turned into a positive, and one incredible experience. In my first partnership, my partner did not commit the requisite time to the project and her product was unequal to mine resulting in a bit of anxiety on my end. In retrospect, I should have communicated my concerns to my professor. I got low marks on that paper, and I was devastated. In my second pairing, my partner worked at a different tempo than I did. We crafted a collaborative product, delineated tasks in a Google Doc, and recorded our portions asynchronously. This resulted in some anxiety on my part, as I had to trust that my partner would meet her obligations. I was able to contact her, and she assured me that all of the work would be compiled and uploaded by the due date. In this pairing, I learned that when partners have different work habits, they can still be successful if they take on roles and tasks that reflect those preferences, especially if there is effective communication about expectations. In my final group project, I was asked to join a group because they knew that I produced good work. This group was stellar! We each took a portion of the project and churned out a product quickly. It was such a joy to Skype live with group members who were equally driven and equally capable. It truly lightened the load and made the work a breeze. I wish that teachers could experience collaborative projects more often so that they could anticipate some supports that their students might need. In this program, I found a wealth of resources to support students through a multi-stage project, including project work plans and reflections on group projects. By teaching students how to work in groups, we can ensure that they are successful.


Stronger than ever after this journey

Over the last two and a half years, when people at church ask me how my courses are going, they expect me to be tearing my hair out with trying to juggle work, kids, and classes. They are surprised when a smile comes over my face, and I tell them how much I love what I am learning. This is due in large part to my husband who has taken over most of the household duties. Our daughters are in their second and third years in college in Spartanburg and Columbia, and our son is now a teenager who is learning to become more responsible. I am learning to relinquish control of it all and trust that the shared work will get done! I never would have imagined being so blessed to have such a supportive family. Frankly, most of my growth has come from the groups of which I have been a part. Looking back on my successes, I wonder what that guidance counselor would think if she saw me now.

  Angela Drake | Educational Technology Portfolio | University of South Carolina Aiken | Spring 2020