This post was originally published on the COETAIL News blog.
We’re taking a short break from our ISTE Standards Series. Check out all our posts here!

This week I spent some time answering questions to give you a first-hand account of both the Certificate of Educational Technology and Information Literacy (COETAIL) and University of Kentucky’s School Technology Leadership (UKSTL) Graduate Certificate. I was in the Online 13-14 COETAIL cohort and completed my Master’s in Educational Leadership in the spring of 2015. My time in both programs overlapped during the 2013-14 school year.

Have questions that I didn’t address below? I’d love to connect with you and answer them! Find me at @mmelayman or reach out to me via email.

Want a sneak peek at our Online 11 homepage? Here ya go! (Bear with us, it’s a work in progress!)

Describe your COETAIL experience.
I began COETAIL during my 2nd semester of international teaching...
my first year out of the classroom, and 6 months after leaving our comfortable lives in the US for an adventure in Kuwait. Not only had I left friends and family behind in the US, I had also left my well-established PLN of French teachers and US educators. I heard about COETAIL from colleagues in Kuwait who were completing their Course 5 final projects the same semester I started. It feels a little dramatic to say “and my life was never the same again,” but it’s sorta true. COETAIL gave me a purpose during a difficult professional transition. I felt embraced by the COETAIL community and my non-existent international PLN quickly grew. Between my smaller cohort going through the program together and the ever-growing COETAIL community, I felt seen, heard, and welcomed. I still have regular interactions both online and in person with people I ‘met’ during my COETAIL experience. COETAIL continues to help me feel connected no matter where I go in the world.
As an instructional coach during my COETAIL journey...
I did not have my own classroom. However, I was still able to immediately apply what I was learning to my tech coaching practice. The flexibility of the program allowed me to approach content and tasks through my non-classroom lens. I was also encouraged to connect with other educators both at my school and around the world to plan and implement projects which supported me to make local and global connections.
One of my favorite things about COETAIL was...
the public approach to reflecting. While I had done some blogging before (and after) COETAIL, the weekly blog reflection on our readings forced me to put my thinking out there for the world to see. This practice helped mold my view of the importance of open sharing in education. All of my lesson plans, projects, and thoughts are still there for anyone to read.
Describe your UKSTL experience.
During my 2nd semester of COETAIL...
I began my M.Ed. in Leadership with the University of Kentucky. The ‘tech coach’ role was brand new at my school and while I loved COETAIL’s immediately applicable nature and focus on teaching and learning, I felt a little lost on how to be an effective teacher leader. As soon as I found UK’s School Technology Leadership program, I knew it was exactly what I was looking for to take my professional practice to the next level (even if I had to tackle the GRE!).
One of the differences that I immediately noticed...
between the two programs was a closed vs. open learning environment. While my COETAIL learning was all shared publicly on my blog, my UKSTL work was all within the closed system of Canvas. Since I had developed the norm of sharing my learning via my blog, I posted reflections each semester about my UK classes and shared any major assignments. Even though the learning management system was more sterile than my COETAIL blog, each UK course included 5 virtual synchronous class meetings. These real-time face to face interactions allowed me to get to know both my professors and my UK peers on a level not always possible asynchronously.
Unlike COETAIL’s cohort model...
my fellow UK students were on a variety of paths. However, this gave me the ability to connect with many different educators during my time in the program. I was fortunate to be on the same path & timeline as a couple of other students which allowed me to connect deeper with them. After 5 semesters and 30 face to face classes, it would feel completely normal to meet up with my professors or classmates in person.
How will COETAIL + UK be different?
COETAIL + UK allows educators to...
simultaneously explore both the ISTE Standards for Educators and Education Leaders. This unique partnership gives you the opportunity to grow both as a teacher and as a leader.
COETAIL + UK will combine...
the knowledge base of a Tier 1 research university with the practical skills we all want to implement immediately in our classrooms. Not only will you walk away with new skills as both a teacher and leader, you’ll also understand the research and reasons behind why those strategies work.
Throughout the fall...
COETAIL + UK are working together to align our curriculum and determine the nitty gritty details of how the two programs will overlap so that you will never double-up your work. We know that your time is a precious commodity and we want to provide you with the most efficient way to reach your learning goals.
Who should enroll in COETAIL + UK?
Current + aspiring...
teacher leaders.
Educators...
interested in supporting both students & other educators.
US and international educators...
who want to make connections with other educators and schools around the world to gain perspective and increase your worldview
Any educators interested in...
getting graduate credits (whether to keep your certification updated, get that next pay raise, or just to continue learning & growing)
Educators looking for...
a reputable, research-based Master’s degree.
Educators who...
already have your Master’s degree (or don’t) but interested in stackable certificates to continue growing as an educator.
What will the experience be like?
Way easier than my experience!
The programs were not integrated so one semester I had 12 graduate credits (2 UK classes, 2 COETAIl classes) plus a full-time job (and life!). This partnership and approach to stackable certificates have allowed us to give you the flexibility to decide how many certificates you want, if you want your M.Ed., and how quickly you’d like to finish. Our suggested path is 2 COETAIL courses and 1 UK course per semester (2 certificates in 3 semesters). The UK course will run the length of the semester and we’re integrating the courses so that you aren’t simply doing two separate programs simultaneously. If you’d like to complete more certificates in a shorter amount of time, you have the opportunity to take 2 UK classes which would allow you to complete 3 certificates in 3 semesters. Then you’ll only have 1 more certificate and an action research project (a total of 2 semesters) between you and your M.Ed. in Leadership!
You will learn from and with...
educators around the world, allowing you to see multiple perspectives and jumpstart (or grow!) your professional learning network. You’ll experience both private and public digital learning environments, giving you first-hand experience to help you make decisions about what is best for your students and school.
Why are you excited about COETAIL + UK?
Potential COETAILers...
have been begging for a new university partnership for the last two years and we’ve finally found the right match!
COETAIL and UK are...
two of my most valuable learning experiences to date as an educator. I grew as a teacher, leader, and person during my 2.5 year journey. I feel incredibly lucky to have stumbled upon both programs and now have the opportunity to be involved in this match-made-in-heaven partnership!
This partnership will...
give you the best of both worlds: COETAIL’s community approach to learning with UK’s Tier 1 research university status. Research-based combined with immediately applicable all through the lens of the ISTE Standards…what could be better than that!?

5 Creative Ways for Students to Reflect

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