I'm am currently an instructional designer at SUNY Cortland. In a recent note to a mutual friend, my sister wrote "Mary is working on her PhD in her continued search for knowledge and drive to figure out learning. She is in constant motion." That pretty much sums it up. I'm motivated by what I don't know and what might be possible.
Thirty-two years ago I walked my first classroom as a teacher - a room of 25 kindergarteners, 8 of whom spoke no English. There began my search for the tiny flickers of interest from each student. Flickers that I could ignite with new ideas, experiences, and feelings. I continue to look for the flicker in facilitating students in graduate online courses.
Eight years ago when I was asked to co-teach an online course, I didn't believe in the effectiveness of online learning. I was not only pleasantly surprised but caught a fervor for what good online learning could look like. I returned to graduate school to pursue my doctorate in instructional design. My dissertation explores how students engage (connect mentally) with content in fully online courses. Some may relate that to Shea, et al.'s learning presence.