My teaching philosophy is to support collaborative learning networks and peer-to-peer learning communities. I focus on teaching and learning design that considers pedagogical practices and meaningful outcomes prior to implementing any technology tool or platform. From this domain, I believe that social learning and open education engages my learners to participate in collective research, shared writing and creative projects, and student-centered approaches for education.
With just over 16 years of teaching experiences, I have prepared undergraduate, masters, and doctoral-level university/college students with strategies to be self-directed in their learning, and allow for creativity for how my learners apply this knowledge to real-world experiences. By using digital, social media settings, I have encouraged my students to build and develop their own personal/professional learning networks online to gain insights, questions, trends, and questions from industry peers. My instructional experience comprises of online, blended, and face-to-face learning environments, where I have been able to use evidence-based, innovative approaches for learning design and test out technology-mediated strategies within the classroom setting and relevant to my learners’ future occupational success. In reflecting on my five-year academic appointment at UNT, I have had the opportunity to interact and engage 3327 students in online and face-to-face courses. My faculty role has offered me insights on how to support virtual teaming, develop collaborative projects, and design meaningful approaches to engage undergraduate, masters, and doctoral learners. My teaching philosophy centers on technology-enhanced pedagogy that foster student–centered, connected learning environments. These learning experiences are designed to be meaningful, engaging, and authentic.
Ultimately, my teaching philosophy advises and is informed by my research interests and agenda. Current educational initiatives should be supported by instructional practices that foster real-world experiences, enable us to provide opportunities for fulfillment, and allow learners personally develop. In these learning environments, I see myself as the facilitator to provide challenge and support as students explore their passions, enhance their skills and knowledge, and become self-directed learners. I introduce and encourage my students to join online learning networks not only to find the value of these groups; however, to be active participants and encourage life-long learning opportunities. As learners engage in these networks they become contributing members of these communities of practice. I have supported connected learning through an online conversation on Twitter with hashtags, commenting on student blogs, hosting peer review on Google Docs, offering constructive feedback, offering manuscript writing workshops, and supporting student learning by holding in-person and online, web-based office hours.
As an educator, I attempt to model the value of networked learning experiences inside and outside the classroom. I demonstrate how online participation, as an open scholar, is critical and valuable in social learning networks. I strongly believe my examples of connected learning has not only enhanced my professional development, it has engaged my students to join the community of practice. This includes creating, moderating, and engaging in a number of educational Twitter chats and educating others on how to create podcasts for teaching, learning, and scholarship. I not only value, but I also digitally curate the open higher education learning and development library that offers professionals access to on-going training, information, books, research, and a new way to share knowledge.
To be an open and connected educator you have to be willing to share, reflect, and participate in a way that is accessible to your learners. I am a self-declared geek and a self-taught techie who has an enthusiasm for engaging others in online collaborative learning, and I am an open educator who often reflects by tweeting, blogging, and presenting about my practices or experiences.