I graduated in Spring 2008 with an M.Ed. in instructional technology. Before beginning my degree at UWF, I had 13 years of information systems audit experience with banks in the United States and 14 years of information technology experience with a multinational corporation in Taiwan and Singapore. My wife is an international school administrator and to better align careers as a family, we decided that I pursue a third career—in education.
Although I live in Bucharest, Romania, I have residency in Florida, so I looked in Florida first for online degrees in order to get the best rate (in-state tuition). A director for an international school counseled me on my decision to earn educational credentials, and he was quite wary of my plan to obtain my M.Ed. in instructional technology from an online campus. However, when I presented the UWF instructional technology program to my perspective employer, he acknowledged UWF's accreditation.
My online campus experience with UWF over the two years it took to earn my degree was very rewarding. Since I was new to education, almost everything I encountered was new and challenging—especially educational statistics and educational research! I felt I was able to draw on my many years of information technology experience when relating to fresh educational concepts and terminology. Every professor supported their online courses brilliantly via UWF's Argus portal and the Desire2Learn (D2L) Learning Management System (LMS). Argus is easy to navigate and reliable. This was very important to me as most of my course work was performed from Bucharest, Romania. My favorite technical experience was learning web design and development and MS FrontPage skills.
Many of the courses were very pertinent to my current position at the American International School of Bucharest (AISB) in Romania, where I teach middle school technology classes 50% of my time and serve as Technology Integrator the other 50%. I used practical school issues in the majority of the assigned projects and proposals. Although my papers were a bit too verbose and academic for my school administration, I was actually able to utilize some of the change management plans and skills acquired from the various courses. The school's Technology Director encouraged me to take human performance technology (HPT) courses with the intention of using the concepts to improve performance and better manage change. My information systems audit and management experience made the HPT courses very relevant, and I can readily apply HPT to my new educational role.
My advice to anyone going into this program is to take the two dreaded core courses—educational statistics and educational research—during the first part of the journey. I wish I had. Not only would I have been able to put them behind me instead of dreading them, but they would have made the research and readings more meaningful.