Dear Educational Technology Faculty,

I am currently in the Master of Educational Technology at the University of Texas, Rio Grande Valley, and will graduate in December 2021.  I previously worked as a project manager and a computer programmer.  My goal is to create learning objects for private corporations.  Online learning has made learning accessible to people who would otherwise not have access to information.

Prior to pursuing a Master of Education Technology degree, I had a bachelor’s degree in Counseling Psychology.  I started my career as a salesperson and worked as a fundraiser on successful congressional, gubernatorial, and presidential campaigns.  As a salesperson and fundraiser, I was always creating computer programs to increase my efficiency.  When the laser vision correction company I was doing business development and training for went bankrupt, I went back to school and got a certificate in Computer Programming.  I went to work at QVC, writing programs for the customer service department.  QVC was still using COBOL which meant searching through millions of lines of code to make changes and corrections.  Wanting more immediate gratifications I went to school for a certificate in Interactive Multimedia.  I worked as a website designer, then as a project manager for a website development company for several years before starting my first of several businesses.  My current company, 5 Stars Group LLC, was providing personnel to work trade shows and product promotions until COVID eliminated in-person events, and overnight my business evaporated.

As a child, sitting in a classroom, trying to learn from a lecture was not a good fit for me.  My favorite time of the day has always been between 1:00 AM to 5:00 AM, and that is the best time for me to learn.  When I was in undergraduate school, I avoided morning classes because I slept late.  It wasn’t until after I earned my bachelor’s degree that I realized it was a lot easier for me to learn by reading a book in my living room than in a classroom.  It was when I started taking courses online that I began to excel academically.  Online, asynchronous courses were the perfect format for me because they allowed me to learn from the comfort of home, at my convenience.

As someone who has enjoyed learning online for over a decade, I decided to use my break in employment to update my skills and become an Instructional Designer.  I completed the Master’s program with a 4.0 GPA.

This fully online, asynchronous, program has allowed me to experience firsthand how technology can play a crucial role in providing education to those who would not otherwise have the opportunity to learn, and how we can be used to overcome many challenges.  Because I have never worked in education, I did not have any exposure to the behind-the-scenes formal education.  It was inspiring to see the flexibility that each class had in setting up their online classroom to meet the student’s needs and maximize the opportunity for student success.  In part, because I value my independence, collaborating on projects with my classmates was a tremendous help in improving my ability to and be comfortable working as part of a group.  I have learned to enjoy being able to call on my classmate’s strengths in areas where I was weak and learn from them.   I later discovered that I could just forward my university emails to my personal email made it easier to collaborate.  I have collaborated with classmates in group projects and discussions for several classes and I am finding it difficult to communicate as effectively and as often as I would like.

I will use this education to create effective instructional units in future positions.  I would like to thank the University of Texas, Rio Grande Valley faculty for the great learning experience.

Kind regards,

Rochelle Brooks