Kate Lapetino

Everyone has their own story. Part of my narrative is that for the past 15 years, I was a classroom teacher. Last month, I began a new chapter and became part of Keypath Education as an Associate Instructional Designer. After my first month of working at Keypath, here are three observations about how my experiences as a classroom teacher prepared me for the world of online education, and areas where I’ve started to gain new perspectives.
 
1. Commitment to Relationships
 
As a former classroom teacher, I know how important relationships with students, parents, and colleagues are in order to create a successful learning environment. I was curious about how this would apply to online learning. How could a traditional handshake or high-five translate to an online experience? I have learned that even though the two modes of learning might be different, digital interactions can produce meaningful relationships. Online pedagogy is built on content and student-to-student and student-to-teacher relationships producing student success. 
 
I am also seeing firsthand that online user experience is a direct reflection of the innovation and relationships between subject matter experts, designers, and developers alongside a strong team of student advisors and support services. Through these professional relationships, the resulting online courses are more robust, authentic, and engaging for the user. 

Relationships are also important beyond the stakeholders immediately responsible for a course. Would I find my place as I shifted into an office setting, and not a classroom full of young learners? I have found that, within my new position, relationships have been the driving force for my career transition success and happiness. I have been welcomed and supported by all team members from Learning Design and Development, to Student Services, to IT, to Marketing, to Human Resources, and beyond. 
 
2. Commitment to Engagement
 
In any educational experience, the goal is to engage the student in meaningful learning. In my classroom, it was important that my students knew what, why, and how of what they were expected to do throughout the day, allowing greater engagement with their learning. In my first month here, I have witnessed how Keypath partners with universities to push the boundaries, create deeper learning experiences, enable access to powerful learning for students all over the world. 
 
Within my classroom, I was able to see student engagement feedback, like heads down or side chatter, and could adjust my teaching accordingly. As a part of the online course development team, I am discovering new approaches to engage students beyond face-to-face interactions that foster meaningful engagement. In learning about different online learning platforms, I am reminded that involving students in their learning process is essential to their success. 
 
The online learning experience allows professors to teach their students in new ways, engaging their learners through strategies and techniques that go beyond delivering content. Through immersive interactive experiences, engaging lesson content, and rich opportunities to practice skills, I can see new ways to engage learners.
 
3. Commitment to Quality
 
From the beginning of my journey with Keypath Education, it has been apparent that high quality is an expectation. I am impressed each day by the commitment Keypath has made to creating quality online experiences while fostering quality growth in their high-caliber employees. I am personally committed to quality, and I am inspired to work hard to meet these high expectations.
 
I have gained a new level of appreciation for quality as I learn more about the role of HTML code in the courses we design. The concept of HTML code is not entirely new because I had taught introductory coding concepts in my classroom. However, manipulating code while striving for that same high level of quality is like learning a new language. In building an online course, there are complex chains of code that go into even the seemingly simplest task. Within my first week, as I learned about inspecting and creating the backend code within a Learning Management System, I quickly realized that any missing or incorrect pieces had the potential to impact the quality of the user’s experience. 
 
To provide accessible, reliable, and quality student experiences, the process in an online course is different than within a classroom environment. When working in a classroom, if a paper wasn’t fully prepared or the content was not error-free, my students might not have noticed or been impacted by the oversight. In online education, it takes time and collaboration to inspect each course to remedy and avoid any potential errors in order to create quality opportunities for students to engage in effective learning and growing. 
 
As I reflect on my first month, Keypath has shown me what goes into creating a successful online learning experience. I am honored to be writing this part of my story with a focus on my commitment to relationships, engagement, and quality in my new role in the Keypath Education family.

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