I’m Alex Rockey, nice to meet you!
I have been an educator for ten years (in August). I began my career as a high school English and Puente teacher in Woodland, CA. After teaching for four years, I decided to return to school to pursue my PhD in Education at UC Davis in the hopes of one day teaching teachers.
Working on my PhD was certainly not smooth sailing. I had a young child (she was nine months when I started my program) and a partner who was also finishing his PhD, adjuncting at a local community college, and TAing. We were busy. Originally, I was planning on a research project exploring the experience of students who were mothers at a local community college (me-search anyone?). However, I didn’t have time to observe classes balancing coursework and caring for a young child myself.
Around this same time, I began working as an instructional design graduate student researcher and I began to explore online education. As a researcher myself, I benefitted from the flexibility of studying online courses as I didn’t have to observe classes at specific times each week.
And then I fell down the rabbit hole of online education. My research has focused on developing an ecology of feedback model to better understand student and instructor perceptions of feedback as well as the mediating impacts of technologies through which feedback is provided. In applying the ecology of feedback model to an online STEM course, I have found that feedback provides an invaluable opportunity for integrating meaningful student-instructor interactions. I have also found that even at a research university many students were commuting, working, and caring for young children. Taking an online course provided students the flexibility they needed to balance their many academic, work, and personal obligations.
I believe in the potential of online education to provide high-quality educational opportunities to all students. However, this potential has not yet been realized and online education can augment existing inequities. Instructors need to have access to empirically-based pedagogy to guide the design of high-quality online courses. I have designed this website to help curate empirically-based pedagogical principles for instructors as they navigate this difficult time of forced remote teaching.