Ronda HeadshotCheers from the sunny interior of British Columbia.

I currently work in Open Learning at Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops, BC where my husband and I also have our own tech related business. My educational background includes a Bachelor of Arts in a second language (French) from the University of Alberta and my CERTESL certification from the University of Saskatchewan.  My work experience includes University level ESL education, teaching at the high school level and managing the administrative side of our business. When I began this program, I thought that being involved in Instructional Design was my main goal. Since beginning however, I have learned so much from my courses,  about my current work environment and even more about myself. I have recognized an overlap of program skills being applicable to my business and other projects that I am involved in and I am no longer pigeon-holing my future aspirations to include a singular career option.

My husband and I have a 22 yr old son, a business school graduate and helicopter pilot, and a 17 yr old daughter, a singer/songwriter who just returned from a global citizenship program in Mexico. It is indeed an exciting time for our family and to see our children become independent savvy global citizens has made the parenting experience so rewarding.

Enjoyment is found with my family, our pups, managing bee hives, boating on our many beautiful lakes, running our in home concert venue and travelling around the world.

This e Portfolio marks the completion of an endeavour that I began 2 years ago and the promise of where this educational adventure will take me is truly exhilarating.


Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.

Nelson Mandela


 

My Master's Journey

The Past
I had started a graduate program in 2006 with Shenandoah University when my children were still young and I was teaching English as a Second Language.  The timing however, wasn't right and I had to abandon my studies. I felt like a failure. It always bothered me that I didn't finish and yet, when I re-entered the Masters of Education arena two years ago, I was no longer convinced that the second language stream was the best fit for me. The maturity of my family opened up some me-time and my career transitioned into distance education and I developed a new focus.

My work in distance education with the Open Learning division at Thompson Rivers University demonstrated the relevance of pursuing a graduate degree with a focus in this area. I had begun a curriculum design stream at Thompson Rivers University in our Masters of Education program in September 2013. My enrolment, however, was premature, as enough courses hadn't been completed to allow me to finish my program. Colleague recommendations and a natural fit with my working industry led me to Athabasca University's Master of Education in Distance Education. I was hopeful that I would learn more about the online learning industry and that in my educational travels, I would learn more about course design, the theory that supports it, student learning behaviours and more about the Open Learning environment at TRU. Overall, I was initially hopeful that an M.Ed. would open doors in the instructional design field or at the very least enhance my abilities and understanding as an educator in my work with international students.

The Present
Flexibility is crucial for me and I have been fulfilling my studies while working full-time, homeschooling my daughter, and running a business with my husband. The flexibility afforded by distance education and online learning allows me to access my courses and collaborate with others while travelling.  Some of the recent places my studies have seen in the last year include Iceland, Scotland, Ireland, Copenhagen and Alaska.  Even though a goal of distance education is accessibility I've learned that bandwidth is not reliable and presents a very real barrier for online students.

The Future
The immediate future for me represents the closure of a chapter that has required immense sacrifice and time missed with family.  I am hopeful that my M.Ed. will open doors to working directly and in an ongoing manner with international students and to designing curriculum for the on-line environment.