Today was a special day. I woke up, put on my Royal Roads University socks, and prepared to defend my Thesis, titled “Breaking Barriers: Understanding and Removing Barriers to OER Use.”
I am proud to say that I successfully defended and passed my Thesis, with minor revisions still required to the paper. Soon I will be a proud graduate of the Royal Roads University Master of Arts in Learning and Technology program.
I would not be here without my family’s love and support, and friends that encouraged me throughout this academic journey. My wife allowed me to start the program and go to a two-week residency after she just gave birth to our third daughter. She provided me love at the start of the program, and on my defence day too, by leaving me this encouraging note to read before I presented my research.
I also received support and guidance from several other friends, colleagues, and classmates. Here are just a handful of the many amazing people that help me get here today:
Dr. George Veletsianos: Thank you for your time, guidance, patience and knowledge sharing throughout the last year. It has been a pleasure to learn from you and witness all of the exciting things you have done with your career over the last year. It has felt like every week you have a fantastic new article or post to read. You always did an excellent job of taking my worries away and helped me focus on the next steps.
Dr. Michael Paskevicius and Dr. Aras Bozkurt: Thank you for being on my committee and providing thoughtful feedback and discussion throughout my research. I enjoyed reading your past works, and it meant a lot to see both of you both today.
Dr. Elizabeth Childs: Thank you for the warm welcome into the MALAT program and creating such an incredible learning experience. You have set the bar high for what I expect an online course to be going forward. I appreciate you always being available to answer questions and your overall kind approach to teaching.
Dr. Irwin Devries: Thank you for providing space in your course to help shape my future OER research and your compassionate approach to education.
Dr. Rajiv Jhangiani: Thank you for the warm welcome into the OER community. You visited the Durham College / Ontario Tech University campus and gave me an incredible experience to learn about OER from one of the industry experts. Your kind approach has encouraged me to always give back and dream big.
Christy Boyce: Thank you for always keeping me focused, excited to learn, and not hurting me with your MMA skills during residency. You are an incredible friend, and I am so happy I met you in this program. You are doing great things in the field of healthcare, and are a true inspiration.
Chad Flinn: Thank you for being a classmate that I could always talk to about OER, educational technology, and empathetic teaching. I was able to learn so much from you, and I look forward to continued collaboration and co-presenting in the future.
MALAT cohort: Thank you for your encouragement and for being such a connected cohort. It was great to learn from you over the past two years.
David Porter and Lena Patterson: Thank you for encouraging my research, and allowing me to work in the best job of my life. My time at eCampusOntario helped shape my research, and connect me to incredible people in the OER community. I owe a lot to both of you and the eCampiusOntario family.
Tony Doyle: Thank you for introducing me to Royal Roads, reviewing programs with me, and encouraging me to keep learning. You are a great mentor.
Briar Jamieson: Thank you for introducing me to OER! You were the person that introduced me to this exciting field, which is full of caring educators that want to support one another. My educational experience would have looked much different without your guidance.
Greg Murphy and Moreen Tapper: Thank you for encouraging me to continue my learning journey to pursue an undergraduate degree and a master’s degree.
Dr. Roland van Oostveen: Thank you for your guidance, allowing me to use software in the EI Lab, and showing a general interest in my research. Your approach to education, leadership, and shaping the next generation of researchers has helped me so much.
Don Lovisa and Dr. Elaine Popp: Thank you for your leadership at Durham College, and ensuring that employees are supported with their educational goals. It means a lot to have an employer that supports life-long learning.
Friend and Family: I know there are many I missed by name, but I had several others that supported me over the past two years. I know I haven’t always been as available as usual due to my studies, and I appreciate your understanding.
Finally, thank you to all of the faculty that participated in my research and the administration that helped me through the REB/Institutional Approval process at each institution. You all made the research experience enjoyable.
Thank you all, and have a wonderful day.