Reflections on my Journey

Everything we have done in this program has moved us to make changes wherever we are. Every course was a little piece of the puzzle, the big picture. Now that we’re at the finish line (for now), I can see how everything fits together and I am so grateful that our amazing teachers (learning facilitators) took the time to guide us using the COVA model and CSLE. When I first started this program, I definitely considered myself a digital immigrant. I had very limited technology skills, but I was determined to learn because I knew that my students needed me to speak their language. I struggled A LOT in the beginning, just trying to navigate the technology I was using for my projects. I cried a few times trying to figure out how to use WordPress, but once I got the hang of it, it became almost second nature.
My struggles in the beginning really helped me to learn how to learn. I became good at looking for videos that would help me, or PLNs with good information. I think if I had been given instructions, I wouldn’t have learned how to find instructions on my own. Self-directed learning is so important because it’s active, not passive. Every course has given us the ability to find information we need to continue growing and learning.
I am so proud of my innovation plan. I love that even though we all took the same courses, our innovation plans and ePortfolios are completely different creations. We learned how to research our plan, design it, and how to persuade leaders to let us implement our plans in our own organizations. That is completely authentic work that is unique to each individual.
As a dental hygienist, I had no background in education, even though I have been teaching for three years. My eyes have been opened to how students learn best, and how to create the environment needed for learning. I learned how to design a class using Fink’s 3 column table and UbD. I created an online Radiology course that I am truly proud of. I plan on using it for my innovation plan on blended learning.
Most of all, I am really proud of my e-Portfolio. It’s a unique creation that I can continue to use and reflect on what I’m working on and how to keep improving. It’s a tool that has given me a voice that I thought I didn’t have- one that I was afraid to use at first!
I’m amazed that I am already here at the end of this program, about to walk the stage on Saturday. There were so many times I wanted to give up because of the craziness of my schedule and life, but I’m so glad I kept going. I can truly say I learned more in the last year and a half than I ever have in such a short period of time. Here is a visual representation of my journey in the Digital Learning and Leading program:


I am feeling very courageous right now, not afraid of change at all. Like we were taught in this program, we can ride the wave of change or react to it as it comes. Do I want to lead the change? Absolutely. I feel armed with the knowledge and determination that is needed to move forward with my innovation plan, and confident that I can keep generating new innovation plans as time goes on. My first goal is a blended Radiology course, then more courses will follow. When others see what I’m doing, I can train them to blend their courses too. My next innovation plan will be e-Portfolios for the DH program. I’ll have to keep in mind the importance of COVA and CSLE to ensure the success of my learners.
What worked? I switched my innovation plan early on in the program because my first one was too big. I wanted to initiate collaborative learning among all the medical and dental programs in our college, hoping to create more healthcare provider collaboration in the real world setting. I decided an innovation plan like that needs more time. I wanted smaller successes to pave the way to the bigger ideas. I have learned that I am stronger than I thought, but I had a lot to learn if I wanted my students to really benefit from my courses. I thought I was a pretty good instructor, but I still have lots of work to do. Even though we have learned (and lived) COVA and CSLE, those changes can’t always happen overnight. It takes a team of educators who are willing to make those changes. I can’t do it alone. But if I can change one class at a time, it will lead to big gains in learning in the long run.

Innovation Project: Where it Stands

Everything I have learned so far in the EDLD program has contributed to the success of my innovation project. Originally, my innovation project involved moving toward a more collaborative model of healthcare, where students from different disciplines learn to communicate with each other more frequently and better. The purpose of this model is to encourage collaboration among healthcare professionals so that they will see healthcare as a team effort that will result in better care for our patients, and possibly even save lives. Although this goal is still in my mind, I am putting it on the backburner for now because somewhere around September of last year, I changed my project to one that I fell in love with: blended learning.

As of right now, my plan to implement blended learning is on a positive trajectory. My program director loves the idea: I showed her my work so far, and she is completely on-board with letting me try it in my Dental Radiology class. Next, I will have to convince our Academic Dean. The problem is, we don’t have one right now. Whoever takes on that role will be the deciding factor.

I’m hoping the new Dean will be open to trying new things and will have that growth mindset that Dr. Harapnuik instilled in us.

After doing so much research on blended learning, I decided that it would be ideal for a program like ours, which is an accelerated one. We have such limited time in the classroom, that we spend so much time just going over the concepts, teaching the foundational knowledge. The students rarely have the ability to take that knowledge and go deeper with it. A blended learning model would help students learn that information in an online classroom at their own pace, so when they get to the brick-and-mortar classroom, we can do projects, case studies and group work that moves their understanding further towards the top of the learning pyramid.

I will always design my classes in a way that creates a significant learning environment. We learned how to do that in EDLD 5313, using UBD and Fink’s 3 column table. This is how I created my blended (half online, half traditional classroom) Radiology course, and I might be a little biased, but it’s absolutely beautiful. I can’t wait to implement it!

In EDLD 5304, we learned how to communicate our ideas more effectively, how to have those crucial conversations. This is where I need to do more work. It was easy talking to my Program Director about my ideas because she is very tech-savvy and open to change. Now that we will have a new Academic Dean, I’ll need to revisit what we learned in that course so I can come to the table prepared and confident in what I am proposing.

After I launch and test my blended Radiology course, the next step would be to share it with the rest of our school. We learned in EDLD 5388 about how to host successful professional development, the kind that consists of more than just a one-day sit-and-get style of PD. In order for it to be successful, it needs to be on-going, hands-on, and adapted to that instructor’s classroom. I would love to help others implement blended learning in their classrooms as well.

Blended learning won’t be my only innovation project. My next one will be incorporating e-Portfolios into the entire dental hygiene program. I saw how much of an impact it had on my own learning, and I want to give that gift to my students as well. Just as I did with blended learning, I will know how to look at the research and figure out how to incorporate e-Portfolios into a program like ours. I will take similar steps in research, planning, executing, reflecting and evaluating. I am hoping that blended learning will be a huge success and will pave the way for more growth and change. I owe it to my students and the future of our profession.


Clayton Christensen Institute. (2014, Dec 22). What is Blended            Learning? Retrieved from