Alumni Reflections

Program in Educational Media and Technology
School of Education
Boston University

June 8, 2012

I have spent most of my career focused on enabling my colleagues and faculty to raise the bar on quality, efficiency, and the personalization of education. Although I have a long road in front of me, I am proud to report my efforts have indeed had lasting effect on thousands of students and hundreds of teachers. I build the foundations for new means of teaching and learning and the influence of my position in schools is profound and largely misunderstood.

We (education in general) are at such a critical point right now as so many new technologies are flooding into the classroom that we need educators, such as the BU-SED program in Educational Media & Technology (EM&T) prepares, to help us move forward in a thoughtful manner. Our ultimate goal of enabling technology to be transparent to educational practice is simply not going to work without the research and thoughtful guidance that comes from the EM&T program. Transparency requires comfort, familiarity, facility, and careful planning and technological change is happening too fast for teachers to learn, accommodate, modify curriculum, and implement technologies productively. The reality is that teachers and educational technologists need to be involved to harness these new technologies. This is the type of training I had in the EM&T program and people with this professional, research based background is what we need in our schools today.

I have been a first hand witness to many new teachers, fresh from college, that were not able to understand or operate the basic technologies I provide to every classroom. These teachers find themselves at a huge disadvantage. The basic courses the EM&T program provides to all SED students are a critical base that must be built upon in their content area with specific and current knowledge about educational technologies. We, as administrators in public education, expect nothing less.

We need programs like BU EM&T to expand their offerings and influence. We have countless teachers with Masters in Ed Tech from other colleges, but they lack the research base to ground their practice. We need more professors like the faculty in the EM&T program that connect the dots to best practice, research, and current technologies in a way that enable teachers to make sense of the educational techo-hype.
I do my best to live up to the SED EM&T standard and I thank Dr. Whittier for the fact that I can. Thank you for your guidance and rigor.

Lee McCanne, Ed.D. (’04)
Director of Technology and School Libraries
Weston Public Schools & the Town of Weston
Weston, Massachusetts
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June 8, 2012

I wish I had more time to write a reflection on the value of the EM&T program. I think it is so valuable I would argue for expanding the program. We’re nearing a tipping point of technology in education. One only needs to glance at the news (for example http://hopkinton.patch.com/articles/high-school-seniors-opt-for-online-courses) to see that universities and K12 schools are moving towards online learning. It’s an exciting and cost effective way to address many of the perceived problems in public education. However, educators are not prepared for the leap. We’re not very knowledgeable in the science (or art) of online learning – or even the hybrid/flipped classroom for that matter. We’re not prepared to make decisions about effective online teaching models. We should be ahead of the corporate providers like K12.com in this. It seems that the mission of the SED should be to prepare educators for the probable future. The EMT program can help fill the need for educators who are fluent in designing and delivering online instruction. We need educators like graduates of the EM&T program who know the research on effectively supporting teaching and learning online and who make that their priority, not online, profit-making that treat teachers as mechanics and recruit students wildly, even if they are unprepared to succeed in learning online (http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/13/education/online-schools-score-better-on-wall-street-than-in-classrooms.html?pagewanted=all).

Bob Thomas
Educational Technologist
Michael Driscoll School, Brookline, MA
Adjunct Professor, Boston University School of Education
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November 6, 2012

I want to say that the Educational Media and Technology (EMT) program has totally changed my perspective on Educational Technology. Before I came to BU, I got my bachelor degree majoring in EMT in China. That program was more focused on technology and we completed a lot courses on computer programming, new technologies, video production and so on. But none of them systematically looked back to the history of EMT, like how technology succeeded or failed to improve teaching and learning in the past. After I took EM550 The Introduction of EMT, I realize it is very necessary to keep all the lessons we’ve learned from the past in mind. Prof. Whittier is this course’s instructor. If you are going to take this course, you will find that he has studied EMT’s history very well. He’s always telling us: integrating technology into education is not simply buying computers and then put them in the corner. When innovators are chasing the “media bandwagon,” we need to step back a little bit and evaluate the technology’s efficiency in improving teaching and learning first. Being skeptical of new technology is an important attitude I’ve learned in the program, echoing another book Prof Whittier recommended to us, Technopoly.

I want to use a Chinese saying to summarize: “the longer history you can look back to, the further future you can look forward to”.

Mengya Zhou
Educational technologist
Beijing, China
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June 12, 2012

As someone who completed both the EM&T EdM and then the EdD in Curriculum and Teaching with EM&T concentration I would be very sad indeed if the program were closed. I researched graduate programs extensively before applying to BU, and SED’s was and still is the only educational technology program in the area that offers a good balance of pedagogical and technical/practical material. There are a number of programs – Harvard included – that teach instructional design, but fewer that allow students to obtain hands-on practice in designing educational software based on sound pedagogy. Throughout the history of instructional technology there also have been many projects (some catalogued in my dissertation) initiated by computer scientists without formal training in pedagogical research. My coursework at BU has enabled me to make a positive contribution to newer initiatives at MIT and Harvard by helping faculty and technologists plan projects around clear and assessable learning objectives and not trendy technologies.

Katie Vale, Ed.D.
Director of Academic Technology
Faculty of Arts and Sciences
Harvard University
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May 30, 2012

The Educational Media & Technology (EM&T) program prepared me to deal with the complicated issues in using technology for teaching and learning. Initially, I thought like people who have not studied this field and considered all technology as failure-free helping tools. In the program, (I earned both the CAGS (Certificate of Advance Graduate Studies, and then the EdD), the EM&T courses taught me to understand the theories, history, and research in educational technology. Additionally, course projects often required us to work in groups and through this, I learned from the experiences of other students, which reinforced the value of the theories and history in the field. My professors, my classmates, and my experience helped me to see how technology is useful when harnessed to learning objectives and is often wasteful when pursued merely because it is new and fashionable. After graduation, I took a position in higher education administration where I had responsibility for managing and supporting faculty. The knowledge I gained in the EM&T program helped me to explore more wisely the possibilities of using technology in education, so that it would actually support teaching and learning and not be mere window dressing. The grounding in research I received in the EM&T program helped me to learn more confidently about new technology and take a prudent approach to adopting it for the value it would add to education. In retrospect, I might not have survived in my position now as a provost in a private college if I did not learn my lessons in the EMT program.”

Totok A. Soefijanto, Ed.D
Deputy Rector for Academics, Research, and Student Affairs
Universitas Paramadina
Jl. Gatot Subroto kav. 97, Jakarta – Indonesia
Tel.: (62) (21) 7918-1188 ext. 150
Fax. : (62) (21) 799-3375
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May 31, 2012

I’d love to share with you news of my recent project that I’m very proud of. In a teacher-training project, I invited 55 representatives of districts throughout Thailand to train them in how to teach computer skills to visually impaired students. In this training, we trained teachers to use the keyboard instead of mouse, to use screen readers, to design learning materials, and more. This is the first project for which I am responsible after beginning my position at the ministry of education. I am delighted that we have received very good feedback from the teachers and supervisors who attended this training program.

Next month I will deliver a teacher training program in utilizing many different types of assistive technologies to aid learners with disabilities. This one is targeting 100 participants. With my ‘intensive’ background on implementing technologies into schools, I’m so ready for this teacher-training program. I’m really looking forward to applying knowledge gained from my research papers into the field. I never forget to thank Prof Whittier for introducing me to the world of assistive technologies. The knowledge I gained is now very important and practical in helping students with disabilities to be more independent and confident at school.

I’m currently working on a web accessibility project. We aim to make our school websites accessible for disabled students. As we plan to deliver this project in the months ahead, I am so glad that I will have a chance to utilize the work from my dissertation in how to design, implement, and evaluate web accessibility for the handicapped. The thousand hours I spent on my dissertation is now meaningful to many others. It is so exciting to be able to bring this knowledge and practice to educators in Thailand!

Once again, I am thankful for the knowledge I gained in the EM&T program that is helping me help others to teach and to learn more effectively and open educational opportunities to the disabled in Thailand.

Salinee Kuakiatwong, Ed.D.
Plan and Policy Analyst.
Research and Development in Educational Media and Assistive Technology.
Department of Special Education.
Ministry of Education
Bangkok, Thailand
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February 11, 2013

I learned a great deal from the Educational Technology program. Its focus on learning theory and instructional design have served me well in my professional career in higher education, and it grounding in the historical context has given me valuable perspective on the current trends in the field. In the two short years of the program I feel that I received enough technical understanding to be useful as a designer but more importantly gained a deeper understanding of how teachers can improve learning outcomes with the thoughtful use of technology.

I think that ending the program at SED is a huge mistake, not only because technology is about to change Education, as it has already changed so many other spheres of our lives, but because you bring a sober perspective to that change.

Justin Horvath, Sr. Media Tech
Boston University College of Health and Rehabilitation
Sciences: Sargent College
635 Commonwealth Avenue Boston MA 02215
617-358-6040 jhorvath@bu.edu www.bu.edu/sargent
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12/27/2012

In Introduction to Educational Media and Technology class, I was taught that BU EM&T chose to stand the neutral ground between Technophobes and Technophiles. I liked the idea but I didn’t know that that it could make such a great impact on my career. First, I have met other American University graduates in the educational technology field from the same Fulbright Scholarship. Most of them are good at one side only. Those who came from Technophobic schools were good in theory, while those who came from Technophile schools were good in technology applications. When we are in front of decision makers, I stood up over the others because I was taught about balancing the two sides and this allowed me to provide better advice to decision makers. 

Though most of my career is spent as Curriculum Designer and Trainer not Instructional Media Designer, I was able to infuse our teacher training approach as Instructional Media Designer with a balanced consideration of technophobic and technophile viewpoints. I was able to help teachers in developing and delivering lesson plans with a good use of media and technology emphasizing effective interaction design. I am now leading the Research and Development Division at one of most prominent publishers in Indonesia. Here I make my impact to our Instructional Design and Multimedia Production team. My Division is doing research on how to build educational products that ensure learning using technology. I could not have contributed so much without the balanced perspective I gained in our EM&T Program.”

Jaha Nababan
Principal, Research and Development
Pustaka Lebah
Educational Publishers
Indonesia
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November 19, 2012

The recent announcement on the moratorium on the graduate programs in Educational Media and Technology at the School of Education (SED) is bewildering. This decision is particularly curious in light of the University’s growing interest and recognition of the role of educational technology in higher education. The announcement has further prompted me to reflect on the role that the Educational Media and Technology Program has played throughout my career.

I find the announcement peculiar considering the SED’s stated interest in preparing SED students and faculty to effectively integrate technology into their teaching and learning. Closing the program that promotes and integrates theory and practice in this area suggests a dubious logic. Considering the program’s many successful decades as an institutional leader and source of leadership development further confounds this observer. Recently President Brown provided these introductory remarks on the University’s newly formed Council on Educational Technology and Learning Innovation; “We believe it is time that we conduct an assessment of the opportunities that exist for Boston University to advance innovative teaching and learning through technology, and begin to chart a course for investments of our collective energy and resources in this area.” In light of these remarks it would be more plausible to see the program renew its charge and engage the community than it would be to see it close its doors.

As a long-time educational technologist working in the Greater Boston area, I am a living testament to the influence and effectiveness of the program. In the mid-1970’s I was studying for my Masters in Educational in Instructional Media at Boston College, a long-time rival and collaborator in educational media. I not only benefited from mentorship from BU SED faculty, but also saw their influence at local and regional meetings where a variety of sub-disciplines from facilities design to instructional design were introduced and practiced by faculty and students in the BU program. In my subsequent work in educational media operations at Roxbury Community College, UMass Boston, Boston College, and Tufts and New England Medical Center I continually found resources, expertise informed by practical experience and collegiality from the EM&T program.
In 1991 I enrolled in the EM&T doctoral program. Although I brought with me an academic background and 15+ years of work experience in the field, I found an impassioned and thoughtful learning community blending theory and practice within the program. Friendships and collaborations started here have endured and multiplied. My last 15+ years have been spent at the Boston University School of Public Health. Here I direct the Office of Teaching, Learning and Technology, carrying forth the same caliber of expertise and enthusiasm that I found with my involvement in the EM&T program. In my consulting work internationally, nationally, regionally and locally, I realize the admiration and respect that my BU training carries and how it reflects my work and the work of my predecessors and recent graduates upon whom the BU reputation is built.
I congratulate the University on their continuing acknowledgment of the role of educational media and learning science in an increasing variety of learning settings. The dynamic interaction of an increasingly technological culture and a host of economic, ecological, and educational challenges which transcend categories of school age and affiliation should move the School of Education to act as informed guide and change agent rather than to withdraw from both the opportunity and the imperative to affect productive change. The needs of the K-12 community notwithstanding, I trust that this decision will be revisited and additional counsel will be sought.

Respectfully,

Rob Schadt, EdD, Director
Office of Teaching, Learning and Technology
Boston University School of Public Health
Talbot 223E
715 Albany St., Boston, MA 02118

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October 30, 2012

I graduated from SED in 2010 with my Ed.M. in Educational Media and Technology (EM&T), and wanted to let you know how grateful I was that BU gave me the chance to study at such a fine institution and in such an excellent program.

The Educational Media and Technology program is extremely high quality. It has been a tremendous positive force in my life, transforming virtually everything I believe about the field of education. It gave me a career that I love and from which I have benefitted greatly, not only in the professional realm but also from the perspectives of personal growth, social interaction and financial gains.

In my opinion the BU program is superior to Harvard’s because BU not only focuses on the technology skills needed to succeed, but also the principles of why, when and how to implement initiatives and how to avoid the mistakes made in the field in the past. The quality of the instruction was overall excellent, and the superb leadership of Dr. David Whittier has been steady, wise and caring. David has been a wonderful support and mentor, both while I was in the program and after I graduated, and I am also grateful to other professors such as the late Dr. Burt Parcells, who also was a wonderful mentor.

It is my fervent hope and prayer that the EM&T program will continue to thrive for many years to come, sending badly needed and well-trained educational technologists, instructional designers and other professionals into the trenches of our educational systems.

Ed Collins
Instructional Designer
Educational Technologist
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November 8, 2012

My name is Mijin Nam and graduated from the Educational Media and Technology (EM&T) department in 2010.
I was able to learn different ideas from my classmates and teachers who all had a variety of different backgrounds. With only a technology background, I was interested only in applying technology to the educational field. However, I was able to learn different approaches and views about using technology in the educational field through a lot of teamwork and discussions in class.
The interdisciplinary features within the EM&T department that connect technology to education and focus on integrating technology into all areas of education, including e-learning, gave the students of the EM&T program various job opportunities such as an instructional designer and a web producer. The EM&T program also provides an internship program as one of the regular academic courses and strongly supports performing internship work. This aspect of the program provided more job opportunities for the graduating students of the EM&T department and helped me develop my career.

I hope EM&T department exist forever.

Sincerely,

Mijin Nam
Educational Technologist
South Korea
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June 11, 2012

My name is Hana Hayashi. I graduated from the Education Media and Technology (EMT) program in 2006 at the Boston University (BU) School of Education. I am currently working as a strategic planner at McCann Health, one of the largest advertising agencies specializing in direct-to-patient and consumer communications in the health arena. In addition, I have just completed my Masters of Science at the Harvard School of Public Health, and will be embarking onto their doctoral program starting this September. My mission is to bridge academia and practice in public health through utilizing the power of media and communication.

First of all, I believe that BU’s EMT program is a rare gem. There are many Schools of Education that aim to train future teachers, but as you may notice, the field of education is not restricted to teachers, but also serves practitioners including educational media technologists, instructional designers, and educational specialists in business, medicine and/or public health. This includes me. Increasingly, there are many demands on education in these professions and the EMT program has been very successful in nurturing talent in these fields. Being very proud of the spectrum of courses at BU and also as an EMT alumnus, I hope that the university will continue to train future leaders in the field of education.

The EMT program provided me with tremendous opportunities and insights to create my future career in public health. First, the courses and lectures offered by the program brought me both solid theoretical and practical foundations for a career in this field. Too often people focus on using media itself, rather than consider it as a tool to achieve learners’ goals. The EMT program, which fully insisted on the latter, furnished me with a very strong foundation as a communication and educational specialist in public health. Secondly, faculty members at BU with both great academic and practical backgrounds have always managed to emanate powerful messages to students. I remember very fondly the ease of approaching Professor Whittier and his colleagues. The dispositions of the faculty members have created the most conducive classroom ever. BU’s strength lies in “a big university that has small schools”, as highlighted at my commencement speech. The friendly dispositions of the faculty members clearly reflect BU’s impressive culture. Even upon graduation, they are always supportive and ever willing to serve as alumni’s mentors. Last but not least, the EMT program has successfully created leaders across the globe in educational media and technology. I am seeing my classmates all over the world who are now leading the field of educational media and technology in their own fields – medicine, business, and education. The interactions with these people, be it as classmates or as fellow alumni of the school, never fail to give me inspiration.

Without the EMT program, I am sure that the great opportunities and careers in public health would not have been possible for me. Thus, I strongly hope that this program will continue to offer a world-class quality education and make a difference both within and outside the field of education. As one of the biggest and most influential universities in the United States, I strongly believe that BU’s School of Education should advocate the usage of “education” in other fields for the betterment of the society. The demand for expertise in education is not restricted within the context of education institutes any more, but is instead expanding to many other fields.

If there are further inquires, I would be most willing to share. Please feel free to contact me.

Hana Hayashi, Ed.M., M.S.,
Strategic Planner
McCann Health
hana.hayashi@gmail.com
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June 6, 2012

My name is Sachiko Ohde, EdM, and I am an alumna of the Educational Media & Technology (EM&T) program at Boston University School of Education. I am a full time researcher at the Center for Clinical Epidemiology, St. Luke’s Life Science Institute / St. Luke’s International Hospital. During the EM&T program at Boston University, I experienced sophisticated course work and additional internships arranged through my advisor, professor Whittier, at Boston University School of Public Health Office of Teaching Learning and Technology and the Carl Shapiro Jr. Institute of Education at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. These experiences in the EM&T program launched my current career, a few examples of which I provide below
One of my responsibilities here at St. Luke’s is to implement and evaluate the effects of e-learning courses for all staff working for this hospital. Providing medical safety, disaster training and basic lifesaving (BLS) are required by the joint commission of the international hospital accreditation organization. Implementing those courses, utilizing technology was very suitable for this situation.
Additionally, I recently won $400,000 in grants for 3 years with my colleagues for a project that will utilize educational technology for needed areas of medical education. We are going to develop educational Internet-based courses about basic clinical epidemiology and bio statistics with collaborating researchers at the University of California, San Francisco. I am very excited to devote myself to utilizing educational technology and media for clinical research and medical education for young doctors and other clinical staff who are engaged in clinical research. An example of our more advanced work is the simulation practice we have developed to help hospital staff in learning epidemiology and biostatistics. I believe that through utilizing educational technology for these purposes, participants have the greatest opportunity for smooth and deep understanding.
I certainly appreciate what I have learned and the foundation I gained from the EM&T program. I believe it is a great advantage that students who studied in the BU EM&T program have many possibilities to apply their knowledge in various fields. I hope faculties at EM&T will continue to educate young students so that they will be able to apply the knowledge and skills learned in the program to many various fields that need them.
Sincerely,

Sachiko Ohde
Researcher, Center for Clinical Epidemiology
Researcher, St. Luke’s Life Science Institute, St. Luke’s International Hospital
10-1 Akashicho Chuo Tokyo, Japan, 104-0044
+81-3-5550-2426

Note: Ms Ohde listed 33 publications
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June 7, 2012

I am sending this paragraph to include a voice from South Africa. I was a student of Educational Media & Technology at the Boston University School of Education from September 1997 to December 2002. When I entered into this program, I did not have any experience in Educational Media and Technology.
To me, the program was an eye-opener. It enabled me to see how the use of technology in teaching could open up my mind to understand concepts that were hitherto unknown to me. I began to see how it could be used in a manner that could enable learners to understand concepts that were otherwise inaccessible to them.
In South Africa, technology can be used to reach large numbers of students attending a class. Now I am developing lectures using Blackboard to teach students about the development of technology in medicine. For me, this program opened a new world because of the visual effects of technology. My exposure to the Educational Media and Technology program was the highlight of my academic career, and it brought out the creativity in me, and the opportunity to share it with others.

Dr. Bongi Nzama
Department of Nursing Sciences
University of Fort Hare
East London
South Africa.
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June 4, 2012

I have been a part of The Educational Media &Technology (EM&T) division of the School of Education at Boston University for the last five years as a doctoral candidate. I have partaken in some amazing courses and met some amazing people. The professors and students have helped me wade through the waters of many technologies and determine ways to utilize them for the classroom. Some of the richness of the program comes from its grounding in history. EM&T places a heavy emphasis on learning from the past and learning from research. I have found consistent messages throughout the program such as the importance of the classroom teacher in guiding learning, the importance of learning from the history of the field, and the importance of using technology as means to enable new learning.

A major strength of the program is its diverse course offerings. I have taken courses on subjects as far ranging as Introduction to Educational Media, Database Design, World Wide Web for Educators, Cyber Ethics, E-learning, Intellectual History of Education, and Program Evaluation to name a few. Another strength of the program is the faculty. The faculty is helpful, knowledgeable, and experienced. After taking an elective class with an adjunct professor, she asked me to co-write a chapter for a book on using technology in the k-12 classroom. The EM&T program gave me the preparation I needed to do this work.

Sincerely,

David Kaufman
Technology Teacher
Revere High School
Revere, MA 02151

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