Texas College Professors Tackle Online Learning Together

The husband and wife team in the College of Education at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley are providing undergraduate and graduate courses to help teachers and professionals master educational technology.

by Gary Long, The Brownsville Herald / June 24, 2019
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(TNS)  —  René and Maria Elena Corbeil are an instructional team in the College of Education at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley teaching undergraduate, masters and doctoral programs in educational technology.

Under the umbrella of the College of Education and P-16 Initiatives, UTRGV’s Educational Technology Program offers fully online doctoral, master’s and undergraduate courses in educational technology.

René is the program director, He and his wife both teach courses designed to help fellow teachers and business professionals design effective instruction and communication to fill instructional needs, Maria Elena said.

“If you get one of us you get both,” René said. “The other will participate and because of that we can be very productive.”

Besides effective instruction for their own employees, “most businesses have a need to educate the public about their products,” she said. “What’s really exciting is to have professionals from all levels working to prepare their learners to use technology.”

As an example she said a fifth-grade math teacher and a hospital administrator could take the same course to learn the instructional design process and learn from the course as well as each other.

“Our courses are all project based,” she said. “They identify real-world problems and design a solution to an instructional need.”

He said a recent survey showed that about half of the students in the program are K-12 teachers and the other half business, government, law enforcement and communications professionals.

“Educational technology becomes the interpreter between the IT world and the end user, the people who use the tools, René said. “The educational technology person has a foot in both worlds.”

René, a former middle school computer literacy teacher, came to his current job first as a graduate student, then a research assistant who was eventually hired to design the first distance learning programs for what was then the University of Texas at Brownsville.

Meanwhile he was working on his doctorate in instructional technology through the University of Houston. He and Maria Elena met while he was in his first year of the doctoral program and she was designing undergraduate courses and also earning a doctorate in educational technology.

Now they have offices next to each other of the first floor of West Main. He is a professor and she an assistant professor. They are part of a team of four, the other two being Irma Jones and Ignacio Rodriguez, both of whom have doctoral degrees.

©2019 The Brownsville Herald (Brownsville, Texas). Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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