Despite Kentucky’s extreme weather in the 2015 spring semester, students in a number of online courses continued learning.
In one University of Kentucky College of Education course, it was business as usual — with a pint-sized twist.
Dr. Justin Bathon’s wife had given birth to their fourth child, Lucy, the week prior. Bathon usually teaches the online course from his office in Dickey Hall, but logged in from home due to the foot of snow and record-low temperatures wreaking havoc on Lexington roads in February. Baby Lucy joined him.
Students in the course waved hello and were able to ask questions, like if she’s sleeping through the night (no, not yet).
All of the courses in the School Technology Leadership program (this particular one was EDL 665 – School Technology Leadership for Digital Citizenship) contain synchronous components (meaning students log in and “meet” at a specific time, rather than only completing online work independently). Students still get the traditional classroom experience, just in a digital format so they can participate from all over the world, Bathon said.
“We have very close relationships with our online students to the point that we usually even get to know elements of their personal lives and friendships remain between students and professors in digital spaces like twitter long after the classes are over. Because we are literally coming into their homes, we do get to see their kids and personal elements of their lives more often than if they came to a physical classroom at UK.”
Most of those enrolled in the School Technology Leadership Program are educators (school teachers and leaders, and some higher education and related fields). It is open to educators across the globe.
“In the class held during the snow storm, about 75 percent were in Kentucky, 20 percent were elsewhere in the US, and one student lives in Kuwait,” Bathon said.
Bathon, whose expertise is in education and law, helps students examine school and classroom leaders’ social, ethical, and legal responsibility to students. The course he taught during the snow storm covers a wide range of issues from cell phone usage and searching in schools to student data privacy.
“Technology is changing schools more rapidly than the law or even social norms can adapt,” Bathon said. “Frequently educators are left in a difficult position of applying older policies to entirely unforeseen circumstances. This course tries to provide a foundation upon which to make those difficult choices.”
The program is part of the college’s Department of Educational Leadership Studies. It offers an online graduate certificate in School Technology Leadership and three different degree integration options for those courses.
The University of Kentucky is the institutional home of the UCEA Center for the Advanced Study of Technology Leadership in Education (CASTLE), the only international center dedicated to the technology needs of school leaders. Because the core courses are tied to ISTE’s National Educational Technology Standards for Administrators (NETS-A), there is an internationally-recognized foundation for the programs.
For more information, go to http://leadership.uky.edu/programs-degrees/stl/. Or, check out the #UKSTL hashtag where the conversation around the program and related elements if always going on: https://twitter.com/search?f=realtime&q=%23ukstl&src=typd.