Masters of Education, Instructional Technlogy

It is strange to realize that I did not write about the one biggest hurdle between me and getting my degree here on the blog at all in the weeks leading up to it.

The Comprehensive Exam.

Many Master's programs require a thesis, a document in which you display your mastery of the course of study that can be reviewed by a committee. Due to the variety of paths that can be taken within the program, as well as what you can do once you have the degree, my program opts for a Comprehensive Exam instead.

Four questions, each on a specific area of the program: Research Design, Learning Theory, Interactive Media, and Programming Languages. Thanks to volunteering to be a teaching assistant in the class that ties three of those topics together, I felt I was going to be fine on those areas-and I was. There is nothing better to cement what you know than helping others learn the same concepts (Hmmm, that was driven home in two of my earliest classes, the ones that made me realize I AM an educator.)

My weakest area is programming. I'm learning more every day, but still, I wondered if what I wrote was clear enough to show mastery of the topic, especially when one half of the question was three definitions (I know one was right, but the other two?) and the other half was a description of how to resolve an instructional problem effectively by describing a solution in JavaScript.

The day of the exam, with ten of us in the room, most of us had the same question "What happens if we fail?" The professor proctoring explained that if we bombed one section, we'd be informed in two weeks and given the opportunity to do an oral exam prior to graduation. Two sections and we'd have to retake it in the fall, which meant enrolling in another semester.

I took almost all the time allotted, which is not typical for me. At the end, I was solid on two, 80% sure the third was good (then later verified my notes and found it was the right answer) and sweated the programming piece. Oh well, can't change it, but I'll be ready if they call me.

And I promptly put it out of my head, which is also unusual for me-I'm getting very Zen in my advanced studies.

An email arrived today-"You have successfully completed your Comprehensive Exam. Results will be certified shortly. Provided you pass your classes this semester, you will graduate."


It is just the thing to hear when you're having a rough week with pain. I will be an M.Ed. in three weeks. So very happy right now.


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