Program Assessment

First, I must acknowledge how fortunate I feel to be enrolled in the Ph.D. of Learning, Design, and Technology at the University of Georgia. Studying the field of LDT with the faculty at UGA seems equivalent to getting to learn piano from Mozart, or having Monet teach me to paint. I want to express my highest gratitude to each faculty member because you all have been inspiring and patient. You have provided invaluable feedback and made the (sometimes intimidating) concepts approachable and fun. I have appreciated your guidance and your ability to be so specific and agile with us in class. I cannot believe how lucky I am to have Dr. Jill Stefaniak as my advisor. I'm so excited about the projects we are working on, and I'm so thankful for the opportunities she has provided for me. I always leave our meetings feeling inspired and motivated. I’ve also enjoyed being in a small cohort and getting to hear about the research interests of my peers and the methods they will use in their studies.

First-Year Coursework

One of the most notable observations in my first semester was how the weekly assignments in each course complemented each other. We pursued the topics from multiple angles which helped with the workload and deepened my understanding of the concepts covered. In EDIT 8990, I enjoyed having each faculty member come to class and share their research with us. I also thought it was helpful to hear from the second-year students and see their 3-minute theses. Dr. Kopcha’s coaching on the article submission and conference proposal processes was so helpful in demystifying a process that was new to me. In EDIT 8100, Dr. Hill guided us through foundational learning theories and scholars in an approachable way that helped me find a basis for my research interests in the existing literature. I specifically enjoyed the LDT Scholar interviews, where I was able to talk with Dr. Bagdy and learn more about her exciting research, and the concept-mapping activity that Dr. Hill guided us through. It was an excellent precursor to the case studies we complete in EDIT8900. It was so helpful to receive multiple rounds of feedback the components of our research proposals. EDIT8190 with Dr. Rieber was key in teaching us to take the leap and just get started with our ideas and acknowledge our ability to be creative. The readings were perfect, and I’ve recommended the books to friends. There were so many memorable learning experiences in that course. I often rushed home from class to tell my partner about our class activities, like learning about higher-level conjectures through a paper plane flying contest.

Now in my second semester, I’m taking EDIT8900 with Dr. Choi, and his guidance has helped me make significant progress towards forming my own research plan. Our weekly discussions and case studies have been excellent practice for understanding how to justify the need for our research, appropriate research designs and analysis methods to use. We've practiced approaching our studies through multiple different lenses. I’m also enrolled in LLOD8205E Leading from Within as a cognate course. The course readings on theories of leadership are aligning well with a manuscript that I’m working on with Dr. Stefaniak for research in EDIT 9600. Each activity has helped me identify personal leadership challenges and paths to overcome them, and is impacting the way I collaborate and work daily as an ID.


When I began the process of enrollment, I started keeping an informal journal of notes about my experience as a student. As outlined below, most of my suggestions fall outside of the LDT program. First, I noted that although I completed the Graduate School orientation as soon as it was available to me, I continued to receive many email notifications to complete it for weeks after classes started. I was concerned because I thought I missed a requirement before realizing the notifications were sent to all new students. It would be helpful to have a clear completion activity at the end, with a confirmation of satisfying that requirement (and no follow-up reminders if complete).

Second, as a student entering in the fall semester of 2022, I was part of the first group of students required to complete the GRSC7770 GradFirst course. Dr. Kopcha did an excellent job of connecting the content to our specific program and tailored the activities to our specific goals. However, much of the required content was already covered in the Graduate School orientation or in our EDIT8990 Doctoral Seminar. There was a survey (from the Graduate School) sent to students about GRSC7770, but no available space in the survey to provide any suggestions. Overall, I feel the course is unnecessary and could be wrapped into orientation or included as a list of resources in a course intro module.

Also, as a TAP student, I’ve just encountered my first registration issues. I’d like to take ERSH6300E this summer since it is a prerequisite for ERSH8310. There is only one online section offered and it is currently full and has a double-digit waitlist. There is a face-to-face Maymester section offered with plenty of availability (that meets for over 3 hours a day, Monday – Friday). I work full-time so this section is not a viable option for me. The registration numbers demonstrate that students prefer (and need) more available seats/sections of the asynchronous version that spans the summer term. Similarly, my cognate area (LLOD) had several interesting classes offered online this summer that I hoped to add. Unfortunately, their online sections will not open to students outside of the LLOD program until Add/Drop. There was (a lot of) availability at the Gwinnett campus, so my summer travel will consist of driving to Gwinnett on Saturdays.