Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Heidi Maston completes dissertation in the School of Educational Leadership and Change

A Delphi Method study on triggering transactional distance to improve students' learning: The Instructor's Rubric -- Heidi Maston

H.L.Maston is an internationally recognized Distance Educator with experience as a presenter, researcher, author, developer and instructor on all areas related to Distance Education with a special passion for communication, social networking and virtual worlds.

Heidi's Doctoral Dissertation is titled, "A Delphi Method Study on Triggering Transactional Distance to Improve Students' Learning: The Instructor's Rubric." The results of this study indicate that there are certain combinations of tools and purposeful interactions that can create an improved learning environment for the student. This data produced the Instructor’s Engagement Rubric 1.0 which is available for use.

Other current areas of authorship and research include: “Digital Fluency”, “Transactional Distance in the Virtual Environment”, “Building Trust in Virtual Environments,” “Systems Theory of Communication: Its influence on the developmental strategies in Distance Education,” and ”How to systematically harness transactional distance for identity development in Second Life in order to measurably increase academic performance. “

Heidi served on the Board of Directors for the Alliance for Distance Education in California (CA Chapter of the USDLA) 2004 – 2009 and was President of ADEC from 2008 – 2009.

Heidi is a member of numerous state, national and global organizations dedicated to Distance Education, research and education.

Heidi has successfully merged 15+ years of Social Service work with a variety of demographics into a grounded educational realm. Her intimate understanding, and experience, with a wide variety of populations is an asset in her chosen educational field.

She holds a Doctoral degree in Educational Leadership and Change [11/11] from Fielding Graduate University in Santa Barbara California. Additionally, she hold a Master of Science: Masters of Distance Education and 5 Graduate Certificates in various components of D.E. from University of Maryland University College and a Bachelors of Art degree in Speech Communication from Northwest Nazarene University.

The 21st century ushered in change with the increased use of technology in educational delivery methods and opened doors for a new generation of students. While the debate over pedagogy, content design and overall effectiveness of this delivery format continues, scholars have not attended to the lessons of earlier theorists. This study examined a foundational theory of distance education, transactional distance (TD) and the potential to increase academic learning via sets of parameters instigated by the instructor. These sets of variables are described in the Instructor‟s Engagement Rubric 1.0, which was created through this study following a three-round investigation of current and anticipated behaviors discovered in this study and accomplished in accordance with the research methodologies of the Delphi Method. The responses to this Delphi study produced the following results. Three themes emerged: a) The technological tools in the transactional distance classroom are being used in a variety of manners and with little consistency as to desired outcome, b) There is inconsistency with the identification of the role of the instructor in a TD classroom, c) The data also indicated that there are certain combinations of tools and purposeful interactions that can create an improved learning environment for the student. These data produced the Instructor‟s Engagement Rubric 1.0 (IER 1.0), which is now available for use.

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