My name is Matt Crosslin, and I am currently the Learning Innovation Coordinator for the University of Texas at Arlington’s Learning Innovation and Networked Knowledge (LINK) Research Lab. The UTA LINK lab was created in 2014 by Dr. George Siemens, world renowned educational theorist and co-creator of such ideas as connectivism and massive open online courses (MOOCs). Before that, I was an Instructional Designer at UT Arlington’s Center for Distance Education for over eight years. I have also worked as an 8th grade Science teacher, a health inspector, a learning center director, and a curriculum writer.
After earning my B.S. Ed. in Art and Geology Education from Baylor University, I began teaching myself how to program and design websites. I decided to take this informal education to the next level by completing a Master’s in Educational Technology from the University of Texas at Brownsville. My desire was to move into academia to research and teach practical course design of emerging educational paradigms. This desire led me to enroll in the University of North Texas’ Learning Technology doctoral program. This portfolio is a documentation of my work in pursuit of a residential Ph.D.
My time in the Learning Technologies department has been a one of major intellectual growth and achievement. In my very first week of courses, I was introduced to everything from Dr. Scott Warren’s theories on the nuances of communication in education to the multi-national mobile learning projects of Dr. Cathleen Norris and Elliot Soloway. While I was already familiar with these ideas, diving into discussions, interactions, and writing about these topics took my familiarity to an entirely different level. Through the semesters I was constantly challenged to redefine my epistemology, educational philosophy, and ontology, as well as deepening my knowledge of instruction, learning design theories, and other educational technology-related topics. I already had some idea where I stood or what I knew about all of these areas, but my time in the Learning Technologies department has honed these ideas beyond what I believe (and in many appropriate cases, caused me to see how unclear my ideas still are and will probably be for some time). My current stance in these areas can be found in many of the papers in this portfolio, but especially in the one specifically written about my personal theory of learning.
Most importantly, my time in the Learning Technologies department has helped me to refine and focus my research interests. I came into this program with a vague interest in emerging technology and open learning, but leave with a specific interest in examining power dynamics as they relate to self-directed learning, connectivism, and emerging instructional design models. Many of the creative projects in this portfolio reflect my growing interest in these fields. Additionally, the papers and presentations in this portfolio represent many aspects of my exploration into these research interests. My teaching experience also reflects how I have been slowing moving into open learning, connectivism, and open learning design. I look forward to continuing these studies into the dissertation phase of my journey.
Looking to the future beyond graduation, my goal is to continue to grow as a researcher and writer. While I would enjoy the opportunity to be a professor, working at the LINK Lab has also opened my mind to other job possibilities in conjunction with academia. While I plan on being at the LINK Lab for as long as possible, eventually I would like to stretch my wings by starting up my own innovation research initiatives at other universities. My hope is that my experience at the LINK Lab combined with the scholarly training I received in the Learning Technologies department under the guidance of Dr. Lin Lin will take me to many exciting global career opportunities in the future.
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