At the completion of my certificate I am looking forward to the next season as an online educator. It takes time to implement new changes in course design, troubleshooting tech issues and garnering feedback from student performance. Questions linger. Is it worth it? Do these changes make a significant improvement in the ability for my students to access quality educational content? Am I inspiring students to be curious about the world around them?
Ultimately, whether the answers are yes or no – I know that I am on the right path. It is an honor and privilege to instruct the next generation of leaders, and one that is a meaningful part of my identity. As I continue to educate students from the Central Valley of California through West Hills College, I also contemplate the underlying value of education for ALL… and how an educated society is a healthier society. What can I do in my own local community in northern rural Idaho? I live in an area that is much like the central valley of California. It largely consists of a paper mill, agriculture, and hunting and tourism industry. We have a large population of underserved Nez Perce students, high rates of migrant farm workers, and poverty. I see so many parallels in our educational systems, although California dedicates a much higher percentage of their state budget to education than Idaho does. In fact, much of the improvement in online education has been made possible by grants to the community college system and a collaborative effort by faculty and staff across the state. My hope is that eventually I will be able to consult with and help improve the quality and access to education for students in Idaho through similar channels in the the local colleges and educational systems.
Will I succeed? I’ll have to take my own advice when encountering students who are experiencing apathy about the social problems we examine in my sociology courses. It is better to take time and consider the small steps one can take to make a difference and be part of the solution than sit back and do nothing.
Will you join me?