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Teachers as Designers: Epistemic Diversity and Sensemaking Amidst Indeterminacy

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In this three-article dissertation, I explore what it means for teachers to be designers in three different ways. Each article can stand on its own, but taken together, they paint a rich and nuanced picture of the relationship between teachers

In this three-article dissertation, I explore what it means for teachers to be designers in three different ways. Each article can stand on its own, but taken together, they paint a rich and nuanced picture of the relationship between teachers and design. The first article is an analysis of a decade of literature on teachers and design seeking to answer the question, “What does it mean for a teacher to be described as a designer, or for the act of teaching to be considered an act of design?” The analysis combined an interpretive content analysis of central terms and constructs with a network analysis of co-authorship and citation practices. The results highlighted 10 strands of literature around teachers and design, each describing a different perspective on what, how, when, and why teachers design.
The second article focuses on a design-based professional development (PD) program I conducted with four teachers in a rural junior high school. The program was designed to support teachers in approaching problems of practice in designerly ways, including exploring problems using various epistemic perspectives. Using an embedded case analysis approach, I found that although each teacher interpreted the program differently, all described outcomes related to coming to know in new ways, developing a deeper understanding of students, and being impacted at a personal level. These outcomes could be interpreted as a type of sensemaking, where teachers came to re-interpret the past and present in ways that allowed them to shape the future. Sensemaking was supported through epistemic diversity and the acts of framing common in design practice.

The third article is a scholarly essay arguing that the PD program and its implementation suggest design is not only about creating things but is also about seeing and addressing the indeterminacy inherent in complex situations of practice. Designers interact with this indeterminacy through imposing a frame on the situation and interpreting the results. When teachers are designers, they are empowered to integrate their personal and professional selves with the design situation, all while maintaining a form of skeptical optimism within complex and shifting contexts.

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2021

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Situated, Self-Regulated Online Learning for Radiology IT Staff

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Radiology Informatics is a niche field with few formal educational programs to prepare learners for a successful career in the field. Employees often join the Radiology Informatics department at the University of New Mexico Hospitals without the skills required to

Radiology Informatics is a niche field with few formal educational programs to prepare learners for a successful career in the field. Employees often join the Radiology Informatics department at the University of New Mexico Hospitals without the skills required to complete their daily duties efficiently, accurately, and self-sufficiently. They are completely reliant on training offered by the department. However, due to the unpredictable nature of the healthcare environment, training sessions are often spontaneous and informal or consist of industry documentation.The purpose of this Institutional Review Board (IRB) approved mixed methods action research study was to examine the impact that situated asynchronous online training had on improving Radiology Informatics staff core skills. Situated cognition and self-regulated learning were the theoretical perspectives guiding the study. A literature review was conducted focusing on professional development in radiology informatics, healthcare, and Information Technology (IT). Eight members of the University of New Mexico Hospitals Radiology Informatics department participated in the study. The study’s intervention was a custom-created online training course presented in the learning management system Moodle. This course was developed and explicitly situated for the University of New Mexico. This allowed the training to cover unique workflows, applications. Quantitative data were collected from both pre- and post-intervention surveys on the perceived changes in knowledge of participants. Qualitative data were collected from semi-structured interviews conducted after participants completed the intervention.
This study’s findings showed that the asynchronous online format was a good fit for the unpredictable and hectic schedules of Radiology Informatics staff. Staff had the required levels of self-regulation needed to complete a completely online and self-paced training course even during extremely busy periods. Participants reported higher knowledge levels of core competencies, which suggests they would be more self-sufficient and accurate in completing tasks. Participants cited that this study's specific online training program would be a good fit for onboarding new employees.

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Date Created
2021