EPETerrific: a reflection on my first days

My non-traditional head shotIt is hotter than July outside and I am finally digging myself out from an intense two-week introduction to my EPET hybrid program at Michigan State University.  A number of my friends and colleagues are considering the program themselves, so I thought I would give a peek into what I have experienced since starting the program on June 21st.

The structure of this doctoral program is as follows: our first year, we undertake full-time coursework (9 credits) during the summer, which includes a two-week face-to-face session.  The remaining weeks are continued entirely online, as are the Fall and Spring semesters when we take 1 course, 3 credits, each semester. The 9 credits in which I am currently enrolled consist of three courses: ProSeminar, an Ed Psych inquiry course, and a Quantitative Methods course (stats).   The ProSem, as it is lovingly referred to, and the Inquiry course are being co-taught by Matt Koehler and Cary Roseth.  The stats class is being taught by Spyros Konstantopoulos and, aside from two short face-to-face meetings, has been taught entirely online.

Let me just start by saying that I am consistently impressed with the quality of the factulty and graduate students at Michigan Sate.  That’s hard for me to admit, being a U of M grad and all, but it’s true nonetheless.  We have some big brains in this state, for certain. One of the highlights for me for the face-to-face portion was the “Visiting Scholars,” in which we were treated to meetings with a number of the faculty at the College of Ed, including Punya Mishra, Doug Hartman, Rand Sprio,  and Jack Smith, among others.  It was basically an ed tech nerd’s dream.  The research and thinking going on at this institute is inspiring and set my wheels to turning.

In addition to the visits from the faculty, we were busy, busy, busy.  For every educational transition I’ve had, I’ve always noticed how much harder each new level seemed.  Not that I wasn’t anticipating the challenge, but it is always a transition.  Beginning a doctoral program was another intense transition.  Overall, I truly believe that as a hybrid student, I am getting the same level of instruction and opportunity that I would as a full-time, face-to-face student.  What I love about being a hybrid student is that I don’t have to give up work that I enjoy doing: I can choose my path to fit my needs, and no one is telling me that my K-12 experience is meaningless in this realm (as I have heard, much to my dismay, from other doctoral programs).   I love that they honored the experiences of those in the field in a way that I’ve not seen equaled by any other program I’ve researched.  So, to sum up, I like it.

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