Dear Dr. Tammy

A place to reflect...about online teaching...online learning...and online leadership....for those who have the passion to take the path less traveled.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

My Personal Declaration of Independence

This past week, I have been working on some self-improvement tapes and workbooks. I have decided to share the outcome of the "self-talk" learning assignment:

My Declaration of Spiritual Independence

1. I removed myself and my daughter from an unhealthy environment.

2. I succeeded in my educational goals & dreams with a B.B.A., M.B.A., and Doctorate.

3. I have a solid relationship with the man who helped me to transform my life. We have shared values and a committed relationship to each other and our family.

4. I set a good example for my daughter and stepdaughters.

5. I succeeded in becoming a successful professor in distance education at a top online university. I enjoy having a telecommute/flexible type job. I help others to be successful.

6. I am working on becoming healthy. I take vitamins and supplements. I am conscious of food choices. I am working on recovering from Panic Attacks and I/C.

7. I enjoy creating a safe, happy home for our family.

8. I have a adorable Boston Terrier, who has become my special little buddy.

9. I feel fortunate that we have paid off our debt and can enjoy life's special luxuries.

10. I am coming to terms with those in my life who I felt negative toward. I forgive myself for having negative feelings about them. I have learned its okay to just accept who they are...they care about me...I care about them...and let that be. I can love everyone in my life for just who they are and know that is enough.

11. I am on a path of continuous spiritual growth. If others ask for my guidance regarding their spiritual path, I will share my experiences and wisdom.

12. In my life, I hope to come full circle in understanding and learning from my life's learning experiences...to show love and respect all who I meet on this journey.

Overall, I am paying more attention to my intuition...my heart...and learning to listen to other's through my heart...and letting my intuition guide me...

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

First Royalty Check...Big & Rich...(well, not exactly)

What a surprise! I arrived home on Sunday from our "end-of-school" family trip to Washington, D.C., which was a "grand" experience to say the least. Anyhow, upon opening the mail, I was surprised by my first royalty check! The royalty was for copies sold of my dissertation completed in 2003.

An abstract of my dissertation is posted on the Kouzes & Posner website, titled "Leadership Practices used by Online Instructors in Higher Education"
http://www.josseybass.com/WileyCDA/Section/id-9719.html


We all had a good time laughing at the check for a whopping $10.97. My husband, Don, said I was getting "big & rich"...yes, he is such a comic! Well, instead of "cashing in", we decided to frame & hang it in my office next to framed "Certificate of Registration" of my dissertation.

Now, normally I'm not big into "dazzling" my friends with these framed accomplishments. I do have a better reason for displaying these papers. These documents are reminders to continue writing, as my thoughts and reflections can help others as we, as scholars, add to the body of knowledge with our research and discoveries.

I will conclude today just saying that knowing there are people out there who benefit from my writing, I will continue to do so. Thanks to you few academicians...and pracademicians...I will continue to write...

Monday, May 23, 2005

Summer School...It's Only Just Begun!

Well, after a one week break, which a couple of days were spent calculating final grades, I'm "back in the saddle" with online summer school beginning today. I know this term will be challenging...not because of enrollment, as summer is always low...not because of the curriculum, as I have taught these courses many times before...but because it's simply SUMMER!!!

Traveling, traveling, traveling. I love to travel in the summer. We head off to our Capitol, Wash DC, in a couple of days. After that, I plan to spend days on the Texas Beaches or Lakes. I'm even thinking about a journey to Sedona, my favorite spot...I think in the world!

The good news is that traveling with a laptop means I can work "anytime...anywhere." However, that doesn't necessarily mean I WANT TO WORK "anytime...anywhere." So, as I said in the beginning of this post, the summer term is always a challenge...and...it's only just begun!

Thursday, May 19, 2005

"Yet Always..." a poem by dr tammy

One person...
Yet always feeling so connected.

No sound...
Yet always feeling so talkative.

Far away...
Yet always feeling so close.

No face...
Yet always feeling so familar.

Just a keyboard symbol...
Yet always feeling like a warm smile.

No end...
Yet always feeling like new beginnings.

A wise teacher...
Yet always feeling like a young learner.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

The Love of Learning...a poem by dr. tammy

The Love of Learning

I can feel it
I can hear it
I can sense it
Can you?

I read what you write
I hear what you say
I want to give this gift away
Won't you let me help you?

I try to support you with kindness
I try to enlighten you with humor
I try to surprise you with new paradigms
Can you read the writing on the wall?

I want to give you what I know
I want to guide you where to go
I want to pass on this love
Do you want what I can give?

I will trust
I will listen
You will find meaning
You will create knowledge.

If you could only see inside me
You would feel the passion
You could touch my soul
You would discover the same love of learning.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Dr. Tammy's Creed...

Woohoo! When I worked on the main campus, that's what I would always shout out the day I submitted final grades to the registrars office. I still say it, however, it's when I press the "send" key to submit the grades online...of course, no one in my home office, except my office mate, Buster, hears me...

Just like traditional professors, I do have some of the same "end of semester" experiences with learners. As you know by now, my primary goal is to "support students in the learning process." However, I do have experiences which challenge me in my goal.

This may seem quite simple...supporting students in the learning process...however, it is difficult to do when some learners choose not to commit themselves to the learning process throughout the term. Now, I don't want to give the wrong impression. I trust all my learners. I believe that all learners want to commit to their personal learning goals...however, sometimes life's events do arise and prevent that commitment from occurring.

For example, usually in the last week...or the last day...of class, I get an email...or phone call...from a student or two who have not participated in their learning experience and would like to discuss deadline extensions, incomplete grades or extra credit. As much as I would like, it becomes very difficult to support a learner who has not committed themselves throughout the semester long learning process. Yes, they may have WANTED to commit themselves, but it just didn't happen like they planned.

Let me back up. I do understand that "life gets in the way." This is so very true. We never know what unexpected events will arise during an 8-week timeframe. However, as an adult learner myself, I would expect if an ongoing issue was prohibiting me week-after-week to commit myself to the learning process, I would contact the facilitator early on to discuss my options...not on the last week or day of classes. Because I want to show that I am a responsible adult learner who my instructor can trust, communicating early on regarding conflicts in the learning process with my instructor would clearly demonstrate my dedication to the learning process.

When I, as an online professor, continually attempts to encourage a learner to participate in the process and that commitment is not observed, I began to wonder why the learner doesn't feel comfortable enough to contact me about the lack of commitment. What am I doing ineffectively that would encourage that learner to be more committed? Of course, I need to learn...it's not always about me. The learning process is about "us"...the learner and the facilitator...a team...that's why ongoing, open communication and rapport building throughout the learning process is so important and encouraged.

Now, some learners will contact me and I do appreciate that. I attempt to provide options...an alternate plan...so they can experience the class and experience learning the material...just in a "revised" format. Most of the learners are pleased with our alternate agreement and complete the course successfully. However, even with options and alternative assignments, a few learners still cannot commit themselves to their own learning experience.

This posting is not to "down" the learners who have had this unfortunate experience. I am always empathetic to any learner who has good intentions, yet are not able to complete their learning goals. However, as much as I want to "support my students in the learning process"...I can't do that when there is no communication early on in the term...no commitment to an alternative plan. Basically, I can't support success when the learner isn't able to participate.

So, this led me to share with you my personal creed, which will become part of a learning contract I will make with my learners at the beginning of each term. (Check back soon...I will discuss learning contracts in an upcoming blog posting.)


Dr. Tammy's Creed:

"I appreciate learners who are dedicated to the learning process...I will always do my best to support my learners in their learning process...and I will do my best to create a successful learning environment." - Dr. Tammy



Thursday, May 12, 2005

My office mate...

I must confess...I do have an office mate. He doesn't teach online, but he is a good friend and sits close to my desk. For the most part, he is a man of few words, but when he spots someone walk by our office window, he immediately alerts me. It is nice, as I do have someone to have lunch with everyday, as we usually share leftovers or a cheese sandwich. He also keeps me company when I want to take a walk and get out of the office. He never complains, although, he does sometimes gets upset if I forget to call his name out when we pass in the hall. He does have a sense of humor and tries to get me to fall for his tricks...I have to say he does make me laugh and keeps my spirits up. It's also nice when I want to just sit and talk...he's really a good listener and can always keep a secret. When I'm tired of working, he's always willing to just "hang" with me and "chill" with popcorn and a movie on the sofa. What a guy...

Who is he? By now, I'm sure you have guessed my office mate is my Boston Terrier, Buster.

Now, I may not have the same kind of office mate as a traditional faculty member, but I wouldn't trade my office mate for the world! He's smart, good listener and empathetic. Now, don't you wish you had an office mate like that!