Assistant professor helps shape UHV’s educational technology concentration
Sherry Vafa hopes her experience designing, developing and teaching online courses will enhance the future of the University of Houston-Victoria’s educational technology students.
Vafa is an assistant professor in the UHV School of Education, Health Professions & Human Development. She previously taught as an adjunct professor at University of Houston-Clear Lake from 2007 to 2013 and was the assistant director of the Education Resource Center at the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, where she served as a lead instructional designer and Blackboard system administrator.
“I believe my instructional design skills, as well as online teaching, have helped me immensely with creating and teaching courses for the educational technology program at UHV,” Vafa said.
In the summer of 2014, UHV began a concentration in educational technology as part of the Master of Education in curriculum and instruction. One year later, the program has expanded and now offers additional tracks. Vafa said the experience of building the concentration has been challenging and exciting.
“There are many aspects to consider when developing a new program,” she said. “For example, we have to be sure the new courses meet the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges accreditation guidelines, Texas Education Agency Accreditation guidelines and International Society for Technology in Education standards.”
The educational technology program now has three tracks, all of which are offered online. The tracks are education technology, education technology with business, and educational technology with adult and higher education. These tracks meet the needs of students seeking various positions and leadership roles concentrated on technology, Vafa said.
“By offering the different tracks, I think it will lead to additional students joining the program,” Vafa said.
The idea of having technological experience will only strengthen the job prospects of graduates given the increasing presence of technology in schools, Vafa said. Technology tools are becoming more affordable and easier to learn and use. The same tools students use in their everyday lives are expected to be used in educational settings.
Vafa said her previous job responsibilities gave her the opportunity and knowledge needed to design and teach new courses. One year in, she’s really enjoying the university.
“I like working with the wonderful faculty, staff and students at UHV and look forward to the coming year and the growth of the educational technology program,” she said.
Faculty Feature is an online profile highlighting faculty members from each of the University of Houston-Victoria’s three schools. To nominate a faculty member, contact Jeremy Shapiro, UHV communications manager, or call 361-570-4296.
The University of Houston-Victoria, located in the heart of the Coastal Bend region since 1973, offers courses leading to 70 bachelor’s, master’s and specialist degree programs and concentrations in the schools of Arts & Sciences; Business Administration; and Education, Health Professions & Human Development. UHV provides face-to-face classes at its Victoria campus, as well as a teaching center in Katy, and online classes that students can take from anywhere. UHV supports the American Association of State Colleges and Universities Opportunities for All initiative to increase awareness about state colleges and universities, and the important role they have in providing a high-quality and accessible education to an increasingly diverse student population, as well as contributing to regional and state economic development.
J.R. Ortega, special to UHV