Wow, how time flies……At the beginning of this course; I can recall feeling very intimidated. I guess I would contribute this to the fact that I had no real concept on the topic of Program Planning, Evaluation, and Management. . I remember doing a lot of self-talking and asked myself, “Now what am I really going to learn from this course?” and “How will it assist me in my current job?”. Well, now that it’s over, I have the answers to my questions, as well as, the initial question asked by Dr. Carter on What I expect to learn from Program Planning, Management, and Evaluation. I no longer carry the fear of the unknown. I have grasped a full understanding of the topic, and feel confident enough in sharing my program plan with the Dean of Student Affairs. Like some of the others learners whose plans will actually be implemented, I’m hopeful that mines will come to life one day, as well.
While there is so much that I can say about the course, I will only state the highlights for me. Overall, the class was very informative, engaging, and I learned more than I ever anticipated. What I enjoyed most, was the format of the course. Instead of Dr. Carter lecturing to us the entire semester, she allowed each student the opportunity to facilitate a session based on the topics surrounding the content of the course. These facilitations where very helpful for me in making that much needed connection from textbook to practice. In addition, this great teaching strategy actively engaged the learners in the learning process. Especially needed at 7:00 pm at night! J
As the semester moved on, and we began discussing the Evaluation segment of the course, I felt more at ease. Prior to working in the SOE, I held a position with the Center for Educational Development and Faculty Resources, which managed teacher evaluations. I understood, at least from that perspecitive the meaning of evaluations and why they are used. I could pull knowledge from my previous experience and relate it to this segment of the course. The activity that I facilitated was titled, Learning Debrief from Building Evaluation Capacity: Developing Evaluation Questions. The activity went over very well with the learners, and increased my knowledge in the construction of evaluation questions, considerably.
Our assignment on conducting an interview with a program planner for adult learners in the following areas: non-native English speakers, literacy needs, disabilities, incarcerated, or any other group with special needs was also very informative and interesting. It is always a good experience when you can speak with an individual that is actually doing what you are learning. Again, this is how you make that connection, from theory to practice.
Lastly, although the main assignment was very challenging in some areas, the idea of allowing students the opportunity to create a program plan from their own interests, added excitement, and motivation to the assignment. The poster presentations were great! Everyone did a good job in preparing and presenting their program plan to the class. There were lots of creativity displayed and we all gained a lot of insight from the knowledge and background from one another.
I would like give a big thank you to Dr. Carter, for selecting the wonderful textbook, by Dr. Rosemary Caffarella, titled: Planning programs for adult learners: A practical guide for educators, trainers, and staff developers. For without this resource, I would have been like a fish out of water! Finally, I would like to say thank you to my wonderful classmates for sharing in this program planning journey!
Have a wonderful and safe holiday season – and get well!