Changes to my original goals statement
Revisiting my goals and assessing my development at different stages during my graduate program is a significant step to evaluate my progress. Looking back to my goal statement showed me how my goals were open and broad. Thus, I realized that having focused goals would help me to assess my progress in the program and remind me of what I need to accomplish. I also realized that some of my goals cross more than one category; therefore, in this essay I will discuss my goals independently, demonstrating my ways to accomplish each goal.
Mastering technology-based learning
I entered the program with a software engineering SE experience of designing and developing systems. I was aware of the lifecycle of SE, which is basically a sequence of stages for conception, initiation, analysis, design, construction, testing, production / implementation, and maintenance as in the Waterfall model. Therefore, I did not find any difficulties when I was introduced to basic instructional system design courses and ISD models such as ADDIE. Interestingly, when I was diving deeper in my program, I started to discover more about learning theories and different research paradigms, and I also began to practice advanced ISD skills such as the User experience or UX design. This progress has enhanced my research views and design skills, and allowed me to wear multiple hats when conducting research to produce a learning intervention. For instance, I recognized that both software engineers and UX designers have similarities at the process level. According to Hartson and Pyla (2012), the lifecycles of UX and SE have similar stages, which include identifying customer needs, designing, and evaluating the intervention. However, while these stages have similar terms, I agree with Hartson and Pyla (2012) who maintain that they have different philosophical practices and roles. The central role for UX designer is to provide specification of interaction design as well as to find UX issues in the interaction design using different methods such as cognitive walkthrough and lab testing or remote evaluation techniques. Then, software engineers will use the outcomes of UX designer works to create efficient and functional software systems that integrate and implement the interaction design specifications.
(Hartson and Pyla, 2012)
As a result of having an experience of SE and ISD, I became aware of the roles, skills, methods, and approaches of both UX designers and software engineers and I gained the ability to use a variety of perspectives and tools when conducting research. Thus, the knowledge acquired from the ISD specialization courses will help in achieving my goal of facilitating learning and improving performance in educational contexts in Saudi Arabia. It prepares me to study, create, use, and manage technology-based learning processes and resources based on theories and models of instructional system design.
Enhancing my knowledge of ISD and research skills
Enhancing my knowledge and research skills in the field of instructional system design is considered another goal for my academic future. Hence, as I have progressed through the program, I have built solid grounding in instructional system design and have improved my ability to conceptualize and carry out research by enrolling in various educational methodologies courses. Developing my knowledge of different methodological approaches and ways of knowing not only influences my research skills, but it also makes my interactions with other colleagues and faculty with different perspectives more productive while maintaining the quality of work and research. In addition, I have a good grasp on the ethical matters related to research and the importance of its application for the quality of my research, even though there is less restriction in Saudi Arabia compared to the United States. Hence, I believe that I am progressing in the right direction to achieve marked academic and research skills.
Improving my proficiency as a lecturer
I have learned an essential skill by observing my faculty and their instructional styles and strategies. I recognize the important of being knowledgeable about learning process with the increasing diversity of students and their interests. I am amazed at how faculty at Mason are providing remarkable knowledge and sharing their wisdom through excellent integration and use of technology when delivering their courses. This is an important area for my future development because in many universities in Saudi Arabia there are no technology specialists to support curriculum development or the teaching process. Hence, understanding teaching styles, the learning process, and the use of educational technologies in higher education contexts in addition to gaining a deeper understanding of my discipline of Learning Technologies Design Research will improve my proficiency as a lecturer in Jazan University in Saudi Arabia.
Working effectively with diverse groups
Working effectively with diverse groups is another goal for my professional future. During my experience as a lecturer in Jazan University, I realized that solitary rather than collaborative work is a common theme in many Saudi universities. However, the development of our education system requires researchers to work comfortably, professionally, and productively in collaborative settings. Therefore, I am working to achieve this goal through socializing with and listening to experts, community members, and colleagues. I recognized that the interdisciplinary work needed to address today’s complex issues requires advanced collaboration skills. It allows me as a researcher to understand the differences in my colleagues’ epistemological and methodological choices. Studying in an environment that supports collaboration allows me to engage professionally with colleagues who differ from the nature of my appointment as a lecturer at Jazan University. Furthermore, conflict resolution skills as well as tact and mutual appreciation skills have also been reinforced and further enhanced since I joined the LTDR program. As a result, I have developed collegiate relationships with peers and professionals in the field of LTDR on a variety of dimensions. This will help me to conduct effective and impactful research as well as work professionally within a research community.
Engaging and conducting original research
My main research goal is to engage and conduct original research in the field of M-learning in higher education in Saudi Arabia. My work experience and previous research supports the need of more investigation in this area. The Saudi Ministry of Education has greatly progressed in the adoption of more learner-centered learning approaches such as M-learning as a reaction to the global pedagogical shift form an objectivist learning approach to a constructivist learning approach. According to Al-shehri (2012), the Saudi government has established different projects to encourage the implementation of distance and M-learning such as The Saudi Electronic University, The Saudi Digital Library, and The National Center of E-learning and Distance Education. In addition, several studies were conducted to capture and investigate the current practices of M-learning in Saudi Arabia. According to Al-Shehri (2012), King Khalid University launched Mobile Blackboard to implement iPads for learning and assessment. The university administration considered the familiarity of social media mobile apps among its students. Therefore, students were introduced to ways in which Facebook can be synchronized with Blackboard in order for them to remain informed of Blackboard announcements while using Facebook. Furthermore, researchers studied students’ attitudes towards M-learning in Saudi universities. For instance, in King Saud University, the perceptions and attitudes of female arts and medicine university students towards the use of mobile technology for learning purposes were investigated (Al-Fahad, 2009). The study indicates that the future of M-learning in Saudi Arabia is promising since almost every student owns a smart phone with cutting-edge technologies. However, some participants were cautious about M-learning due to the expensive cost of data plans. In addition, Chanchary and Islam (2011) conducted another study at Najran University to explore the perceptions of students with regards to M-learning. The study revealed that the majority of students are not ready for M-learning and would like their instructors to implement a blended learning approach in which mobile learning will be blended with face-to-face classrooms. Furthermore, Nassuora (2012) studied the factors affecting the use of mobile learning at Al-Faisal University by adopting a Unified Theory of Acceptance and Use of Technology model. The study indicates that the majority of students were not familiar with the concept of M-learning. However, they have good perceptions and acceptance of M-learning. Therefore, while Saudi students are professional users of mobile device with cutting-edge technologies, they are not well prepared to use the mobile devices for learning purposes (Seliaman & Al-Turki, 2012). Therefore, it was noted that there is insufficient research in the field of M-learning in Saudi Arabia. There is a need to explore the possibility of introducing a constructivist M-learning environment for Saudi students, which ultimately leads to an understanding of how M-learning applications and activities could support students’ learning. I believe that the use of Design Based Research is ideal for the identification of issues in designing and implementing a constructivist M-learning environment in a Saudi context.
Summary of my goals:
- To study, create, use, and manage technology-based learning processes and resources based on theories and models of instructional system design.
- To attain marked ability, scholarship, and research skills in the field of instructional system design.
- To improve my proficiency as a lecturer in Jazan University, SA through understanding teaching styles, learning process, and the use of educational technologies in addition to building a deep understanding of my discipline.
- To work effectively, productively, and professionally with individuals with different characteristics on a variety of dimensions.
- To engage with and conduct original research in the field of M-learning in higher education in Saudi Arabia.
Al-shehri, S. (2012). Contextual language learning: The educational potential of mobile technologies and social media.
Al-Fahad, F. N. (2009). Students’ attitudes and perceptions towards the effectiveness of mobile learning in King Saud University, Saudi Arabia. TOJET: The Turkish Online Journal of Educational Technology, 8(2).
Chanchary, F. H., & Islam, S. A. M. I. U. L. (2011). Mobile learning in Saudi Arabia–prospects and challenges.
Hartson, R., & Pyla, P. S. (2012). The UX Book: Process and guidelines for ensuring a quality user experience. Elsevier.
Nassuora, A. B. (2012). Students acceptance of mobile learning for higher education in Saudi Arabia. American Academic & Scholarly Research Journal, 4(2), 1.
Seliaman, M. E., & Al-Turki, M. S. (2012). Mobile learning adoption in Saudi Arabia. World Academy of Science, Engineering and Technology, 69, 391-293.