Friday, September 16, 2011

Clarity and Confusion

In pursuing the doctoral studies, I knew that there were three possible avenues towards the research I wish to explore: Instructional Technology, Special Education or Educational Psychology. There are benefits to each path, and ultimately, I will have a doctorate in one discipline with a cognate in a second, so two of the three will be covered at minimum by the time I successfully defend my dissertation.

However, last fall, I asked two professors who are psychologists what they would do if faced with this dilemma and both asked the same question "which will be more beneficial to have in your defense arguments, the psychological underpinnings or the pedagogical value of the technology?" When I took time to think about it, the answer became clearer, that I should follow the Instructional Technology path.

Once in the master's program, I realized that the cognate should be educational psychology, though I am still debating trying to squeeze in a graduate certificate in Autism. Blame that on my desire to be as informed as possible when I walk into that committee meeting in a few years.

Anway, today, I took the first step in the application process with a school that, if I am accepted, will take me down an alternate path. The reason for contacting them is that my doctor's mom is faculty at their program for children with disabilities and she focuses on technology interventions.

It was a very productive conversation, one in which I felt like I was talking with a mentor who respected my point of view and wanted to guide me into the best situation to accomplish what I am interested in achieving. She provided many resources in the field whose research (at her school) would help me indirectly in my own research.

I'd sent her an inquiry email that explained what I wish to do and asked if this would fit in with their objectives last month. Today, she asked if she could forward it on to the colleagues that she thinks would be interested in working with me. Most definitely, I responded. At the very least, I'll make some connections that will forward on information they think is relevant to my studies.

Interestingly, she asked if I'd considered another program outside of USF-the one I actually have at the top of my list if I were to leave the state. I mentioned that the program only accepts 3 students a year. She asked if I'd already contacted the director, which I have and received an email response. Then she urged me to pick up the phone and call him (he offered his number for questions), because they're another program that she thinks is a good fit with my ideas. I also mentioned the other main contender as a possibility. She doesn't know anyone there, but expressed approval at the choice.

So, I know what will happen if I apply to midwest University and what I need to do. The confusion lies in the fact that I thought that one path was the best way to go, but the alternative may be just as fruitful.

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