I’m Alex Rockey, nice to meet you!
I have been an educator for thirteen 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. I am currently a professor of instructional technology at Bakersfield College.
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, balance coursework, and care for a young child.
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 academic technology. I have researched:
- how and why students use phones for learning,
- mobile-friendly course design,
- mobile learning, and
- online education.
In my research I have found that even at a research university many students were commuting, working, and caring for young children. Students across higher education systems need flexibility. When students were able to use their phones for learning, they were able to find the flexibility they needed to balance their many academic, work, and personal obligations.
Whether I am exploring the benefits of online courses or mobile learning, one thing holds true: there are benefits and limitations to any technology. As instructors, when we intentionally leverage the benefits while minimizing the limitations of technology we can truly make magic happen. I believe in the potential of mobile-friendly courses to provide high-quality educational opportunities to all students. Mobile-friendly courses can extend learning beyond the classroom and computer screen and transform access to higher education.