JMU Educational Technology Program Alumni Survey Spring 2012

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1 James Madison University Educational Technology Graduate Survey Executive Summary On March 2, 2012, a survey was sent to individuals who have graduated since 2007 with Master s degrees or certificates in the JMU Educational Technology program (n=12). A reminder was sent on March 8 to those 6 graduates who had not yet taken the survey. The survey closed on March 15 th. A total of 10 students responded for an overall response rate of 83%. Respondents were asked to indicate how well prepared they felt when entering the educational technology field. All 10 respondents (100%) felt that they were prepared to work in the field of educational technology, were provided with adequate information about the field, found courses and activities meaningful and felt the program s courses were scheduled in a manner that recognized the competing demands of life and work. Meanwhile, of the 7 who responded to the question Were you prepared to comfortably answer questions in your job interview(s)?, 2 (29%) responded that they were not prepared. When asked what could be done to improve the program, some of the responses included, offer field experience, More practical application for some of the earlier classes, and more elective courses. Overall, satisfaction with the program is high. 1

2 Please indicate the semester and year of graduation from the Educational Technology Master's program OR receipt of an Educational Technology certificate. Fall (2008) 1 10% Fall (2009) 2 20% Fall (2010) 1 10% Fall (2011) 2 20% Spring (2011) 2 20% Summer (2008) 1 10% Summer (2010) 1 10% Did the Educational Technology program sufficiently prepare you for work in the field of educational technology? Yes % No 0 0% The program introduced me to several areas involved with different Ed Tech environments, so even though I might not be a pro at a everything, at least I had exposure and was familiar with the concept. To an extent but my current employer and I would have preferred more tool skills, such as Flash, general HTML coding (for HTML editors on LMS) and definitely Learning Management Systems (Blackboard, ANGEL, Moodle, etc.). It provided a good overview of the trends and best practices. Things change quickly so too much focus on new tools may be counterproductive. 2

3 Did the Educational Technology program provide you with accurate and thorough information about the field? Yes 9 100% No 0 0% Total 9 100% One thing I appreciate about the program, more after the fact, is that the professors were current with the field - it's tools, technology, trends and thoughts. Yes, definitely! I was exposed to great research and theory on both technology and education and of course the blending of the two. As a new job seeker, I am finding that employers are looking for knowledge regarding disability compliance and assistive technologies. That said, the field is in flux, so relying on a degree isn't practical. Constantly keeping skills and knowledge up to date is a must. Were course activities and projects meaningful (e.g. did they provide experiential learning that later tied directly to professional responsibilities)? Yes % No 0 0% 3

4 The more I am involved with my current job, the more "bits and pieces" of the program I pull into my daily activities. Consulting, visual literacy, working in teams, working with SMEs, thought process for developing a storyboard/course/whatever. I did enjoy the course activities and they were essential to the program. However, my current position is one in which I train instructors on LMS so many were not too they were significant to my current role. In the institution I work for Instructional Designers either create course content or train/troubleshoot. So, perhaps a stronger focus on finding, building, and troubleshooting rich media is needed in the course of study. Many were - it may have been valuable to shadow/mentor people with the specific job responsibilities I needed to start in the field. Having the ability to conduct a thorough research has helped me tremendously both professionally and personally. I may have to start charging family and friends. ;) Faculty encouraged me to tailor research and course projects to my needs in my profession. Have you explored a change of employment relating to educational technology that resulted in a job interview? Yes 7 70% No 3 30% Were you prepared to comfortably answer questions in your job interview(s)? Yes 5 71% No 2 29% Total 7 100% 4

5 I was, but I think part of that is just from years of work interviews experience and I'm to the point in my life where I am genuine and honest and relaxed (for the most part/!) in an interview. Yes, I was comfortable in answering questions during my job interview; the thesis experienced prepared me for a great deal! The only difficulties were convincing the Administration (higher level interviews) that I did not have the answers but I had suggestions. I also found that a great deal of difficulty in a Educational Technology position is convincing those who have very limited technology skills that technology has some of the answers. I cannot show someone how fast a car will go if they are unwilling to get in or even watch! Most administrators/interviewers are looking for people who understand the applications of technology and who can translate jargon into actionable speech. The interviewer had specific questions of my knowledge and experience with the 503 disability compliance. 5

6 Have you changed or advanced in your career as a result of the skills and knowledge provided in JMU's Educational Technology program? Please explain. Landed an AWESOME job and I highly doubt that would have happened if I was not encouraged to participate in the program and to stick with it. Once again, I am blessed to be employed at the moment because of this degree. I am however, exploring a return to the K- 12 environment where I still will institute the skills developed as a result of this program hopefully as a teacher but an Instruction Designer in the k- 12 environment is still a possibility; I am not interested in the corporate sector. I do believe that an opportunity to return to the K- 12 environment will be directly related to the skills I developed through this program. And I know the potential for advancement or at least stability is great because of this program! Not yet but trying! My current job requires a Masters in Education, and the courses that I have used knowledge from include instructional design and research methods. NO No, I am presently in job search mode. I am looking for the perfect fit. The best time to look for a job is when you have one so I'm taking my time to find the best position for me. I feel the Master's degree has given me more credibility in the field. Yes, my career advanced. A master's degree was important to the position that I now hold. Yes, I will be conducting research and training regarding integration technology in education in my hometown I have advanced my career by having the respect of colleagues and being valued for the expertise that comes with having a Master's degree in Educationa Technology. Were the Education Technology courses scheduled in a manner that recognized the competing demands of life and work? Yes % No 0 0% 6

7 I will answer yes, but I went through this program full time and I believe most take it part time. I liked that courses were at time when a working teacher could take them. Hybrid and on- line programs through the extension office met my demands. What is JMU's Educational Technology program doing WELL? Exposure to real life experiences, encourages interaction with people in the field (interviews, guest speakers) I did receive considerable personal attention. I also believe they hired some new professors that really came from great programs and had a clear vision for the program. I can imagine that in the two years since I graduated the program has evolved to great levels! Everything, I think that even though I am not in a technology position the program has made me a much better teacher Flexibility, focus on knowledge and skills that transfer across technologies. Hybrid and On- line learning. Utilization of emerging technologies in courses providing an opportunity for students to gain experience. I feel it is meeting the need of educators wanting to approach technology integration with best practices. I graduated in 2008 so I know things have changed. I really thought the instructional design course, media applications and educations courses about teaching and learning were very valuable. I like that the program had very relevant projects that I could do in my current job. Personalizing the course work, caring about each individual student in the program, offering courses with independent study opportunities. 7

8 How can JMU s Educational Technology program be IMPROVED? Hmmmm...try to organize a day (1/2) of observing someone doing the job the student is interested in. This was a HUGE thing for me when I visitied C2 and spent the day with XXX. I saw what she was doing and knew immediately that I would not be happy with her job. It was such an eye opener and helped me focus my job search. I identified a couple issues earlier in this survey, I will retort: I am in an educational environment and I administer, train and troubleshoot the ANGEL LMS. So any training/experience with a LMS would be helpful especially if it was from an instructor s point of view! Maybe offer field experience At the time, I felt many things were in transition so I wasn't quite sure where I fit in to the program at times. More practical application for some of the earlier classes. Add a supplement to the assistive technology and 503 disability compliance laws. While I was in the program, its leadership was in flux and that muddied the waters in terms of program requirements and expectations. Clear and consistent expectations from program start to completion are important, even if the program takes several years for students to complete. adding more elective courses We would like to contact employers who have hired graduates of JMU's Educational Technology program in order to ask them whether our program adeqautely trains professionals. If we have your permission to contact your employer, please provide contact information below. *We will not ask specific questions about you, just about their perceptions of the program.* 6 people provided contact information for their employers 8

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