Student Voices: All about the Consulting in Educational Technology Course by Rosanna Montoute
By: Rosanna Montoute, MA candidate, Concordia University
|This post is part of a series dedicated to the Master’s students in the Consulting in Educational Technology course (ETEC 693) that Sonia instructed at Concordia University.|
|Consulting in Educational Technology is a course offered by the Concordia University Education Department as part of the Educational Technology Program. According to the course designer and instructor Sonia Di Maulo, the course is designed to support the development of the learners’ conceptual understanding, as well as their practical experience as a performance consultant. It emphasizes the provision of practical models, tools and techniques and their application in the performance consulting practice.
The objective (learning outcome) of the course, as per the instructor, is to enable learners to describe and implement applied educational technologies and techniques used by professional consultants in Education Technology through interactive discussions, case studies, group work and client-consultant simulation.
The instructor of this course, Sonia Di Maulo, is a professional and career performance consultant who knows and understands the profile of her target audience, and most importantly knows how to apply the concepts and principles of adult education to her course design for optimum learning outcomes. She possesses an extensive academic and professional background in performance consulting, and has worked on numerous projects at several government agencies and private corporations over a span of 11 years. This meant that she brought a wealth of best practices and industry experience to the classroom.
The Course Contents
The Consulting In Educational Technology course is extremely “self-directed,” so as a learner you are given the opportunity to design your own learning by focusing on developing the subject areas that are unknown and building on areas that are known. This was accomplished by the instructor providing a wide selection of relevant reading materials categorized by subject matter, making it easy to decide and select a specific area of interest for the purpose of developing further knowledge.
Each week a guest speaker was scheduled to share their industry experiences with the class. The guest speakers were all subject matter experts in the performance consulting industry. They came well prepared, answered all of the participants’ questions expertly and professionally, and equipped us with a wealth of knowledge, insights, resources and tools necessary for establishing ourselves as performance consultants.
The course was also project intense: Our first project was to interview an industry professional and compare and contrast their ideas, assumptions, constraints and recommendations about the industry with the literature. The goal of this exercise was not only to benefit from the knowledge gained by reading industry related articles, studies and research materials, but to integrate what the literature was saying with a live industry professional.
The subsequent project was designed to develop our presentation, cooperative, collaborative and leadership skills. Participants were to select an article of our choosing and present our analysis of the article to our classmates. Immediately following our presentation we were given feedback on the contents of the presentation as well as our presentation style using the 3 + 1 Feedback concept (three “did wells” and one “do better”).
The third and final project was an experiential learning exercise designed for learners to apply all the concepts, processes and best practices learned from the interviews, guest speakers and readings and present a case study of a performance consulting project. We were provided with a case analysis template that served as the blueprint (business plan) for our project. This exercise provided the opportunity and environment for transferring and applying previously acquired theoretical knowledge in a practical sense; this was accomplished by allowing the participants to assume the role of performance consultants and design a performance improvement proposal for a customer through the process of: a) identifying the client’s problem; b) identifying the target group; c) systemically analyzing and assessing the problem through interviews, focus groups and surveys; d) identifying the real problem (gaps); e) selecting appropriate organizational development models; and f) proposing solutions/interventions for identified gaps. All of the above mentioned processes were pulled into a 30-minute presentation.
The Consulting in Educational Technology course was a very rich and rewarding experience, I must admit, as I have gained a heightened sense of confidence in my ability to become a consultant. It is a course I highly recommend to anyone looking to enter the consulting industry, and more specifically, the performance consulting field. On a scale of 1 to 10, I would assign a 9.5 to the course. The only reason I would not give it a 10 is that it was too short in duration—only seven weeks. Another suggestion I would make is to rename the course “Performance Consulting in Educational Technology.”
|Rosanna Montoute (BA; MA candidate), Concordia University graduate of Applied Social Sciences. Experience in all aspects of Human Relations, Adult Education, Banking and Insurance; proven interpersonal skills and an ability to communicate with individuals of diverse ethnic backgrounds and foreign cultures; ability to define issues, propose solutions, and implement change; committed to maintaining the highest standards of professionalism and work ethics; people-oriented with strong leadership, organizational, and negotiation skills. Advocate of personal education, and a vision for the advancement and enlightenment of individuals and society through effective guidance and education.|