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Union: Statement of Purpose

Union: Statement of Purpose

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Published by Leah MacVie
Uploaded from Google Docs
Uploaded from Google Docs

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Published by: Leah MacVie on Dec 04, 2011
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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11/11/2012

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Statement of Purpose
Leah MacVie
During my time in grad school, I started to explore educational technologies like Webconferencing and video tools, curriculum design specifically for alternative learners, and how tobest teach teachers to teach online. For one of my independent studies, I worked with anorganization called Teachers Without Borders (TWB)
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, an extraordinary organization that usesopen resources to teach teachers how to teach in unlikely places like Afghanistan, Brazil, andBurundi. I became interested in the process they use to ‘crowd-assemble’ curriculum and adaptthe open content for the specific needs of an area or group of people.The challenges we face with open content in the United States are not unlike the challengesTWB faces. There is an abundance of open-content, but we need to discover how to wield it tohelp people progress and move out of the cycles they are in. Humans have an innate desire tolearn and they voluntarily do so without any type of credit. People are already learning for freeonline from people who teach for free, informally
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and formally
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. Groups of individuals who loveto learn and teach are getting together to learn new content after realizing that they learn better in groups
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. While people may engage in many forms of ‘informal’ and ‘do-it-yourself’ learning,they are not earning credit for it and therefor it is not an acceptable means of learning in theeyes of many employers.The global university, the spread of knowledge through massive open online courses, andknowledge hacking for credit are all topics I want to dive into and explore. It is my goal todiscover options for people to utilize the open materials that are out there, whether it’s to teachyoung children how to read or to teach adults for workforce related credits
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. My greatest wish isthat the research I do will create positive change in the world and I can help education to getfrom where it is now to where it needs to go.I’ve been surrounded by extraordinary academics for the past few years and each one hashelped to ignite my passion for scholarship and curiosity. I have been working hard trying totackle the idiosyncrasies that pop up when an institution tries to structure the delivery of education online. However, the field of online learning and formal education is changing.Though I honestly don’t have an end goal or a position in mind, I know I want to be on the brinkof the next evolution of learning that will be influenced by globalization and new media. A Ph.D.program will give me a cohort of peers, the possibility of a few new mentors, and the creativestrategies to do significant research.The Ph.D. in Interdisciplinary Studies was recommended to me by a colleague, who is enrolledin the program. I did a thorough examination of 6 low-residency Ph.D. programs and Union’sPh.D. in Interdisciplinary Studies was one of my top two choices, for several reasons. After reading a few of my research goals, I think you will agree that the topics I want to tackle aren’t
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