I am pleased to present my portfolio, comprising writings which highlight preparatory processes I have undergone during the doctoral program at ETAP, which will enable me to undertake the dissertation and conduct future research with independence, skill, knowledge, insight and integrity.
The projects demonstrate my desire to extend my disciplinary knowledge by exploring core themes I intend to pursue in my present and future research. The themes focus on how the pedagogical and socio-cognitive dynamics of the online environment may be harnessed to support teachers’ professional learning needs. The decision to pursue this area of investigation stems from my own experience of interacting meaningfully with course content and social others in the online environment during the doctoral program at ETAP. Prior to enrolling for the course, I had not received exposure to online learning during my basic training as a teacher or any point of my tertiary education. Experiencing the tremendous potential of this medium in engendering genuine engagement with course content and peers has been pivotal in realigning the trajectory of my interests and indeed, my career as a teacher and researcher.
Investigating the provision of professional development opportunities for in-service teachers is a natural extension of activities I had engaged in as an instructor at the Language and Technology Department at the English Language Teaching Centre (ELTC) where I previously worked. At the institute, my primary role involved designing and teaching instructional technology courses for in-service ESL teachers. The courses were designed for face to face instruction, as online learning in teacher education has largely been unexplored in my country. My exposure to online learning, however, has convinced me that this is an area of study worth investigating due to its capacity for engendering reflective practice and authentic learning in teachers' endeavors to deepen their understanding of their professional practice. I believe that these elements define transformative learning experiences that result in fundamental and lasting changes in teachers' thinking and teaching practices.
The six articles of evidence I have featured in my portfolio, therefore, have integrated work I have been involved in at ELTC, with my interest in examining the potential of online learning in teacher education. The themes I have investigated indicate key areas of my future involvement upon my return to the teacher training institute.
Besides serving as vital spaces for conceptualizing and conducting research around my disciplinary interests, the projects have enabled me to hone skills and knowledge I will apply during my dissertation and future research projects. With each project, I have been able to refine my understanding of constituent parts of the whole research process, whether it is analyzing the role and application of theory in studies, selecting appropriate research designs, or planning systematic methodological procedures to investigate a research problem. Each project has provided essential preparation in shaping my thinking and writing, by incrementally building and consolidating my ability to articulate ideas with clarity and precision, and to engage in sustained, thoughtful argument around online learning and teacher education. By participating in collaborative projects, I have strengthened my ability to work collegially and productively with team members and mentors, investing my best energies in supporting colleagues in our efforts to learn and grow personally and professionally.
The projects in my portfolio collectively serve as evidence of requisite abilities I have acquired during the doctoral program, which will enable me to independently undertake the dissertation and future research in the true spirit of scholarship. To view my list of projects, please proceed to the Criteria & Evidence Table.