Faculty Member and Doctoral Student Co-publish Chapter in New Book

July 9, 2021

Sandra L. Guzman Foster, Ph.D., associate professor in Education, and Alyssa S. Cortes-Kennedy, a doctoral student in the Dreeben School of Education, co-authored “Engaging Graduate Students During a Pandemic: Critical Thinking, Creativity, Communication, and Collaboration in Emergency Remote Learning” a chapter in a new book titled the Handbook of Research on Barriers for Teaching 21st-Century Competencies and the Impact of Digitalization.

Dr. Sandra L. Guzman Foster “What we hope readers will take away from our chapter is that there are ways to engage students in an online classroom environment that goes beyond discussion boards. We saw an opportunity to try new tools when we were forced into remote learning. It is not just about integrating technology for the sake of integrating technology, it is about how to use these tools for collaboration, creativity, communication and critical thinking,” said. Dr. Guzman-Foster. “With each technology tool students became empowered because they could reflect and connect the curriculum with authentic activities using the various digital tools via online and video platforms. We found these various tools support learning if utilized effectively. Furthermore, we came to understand that it is very important to create a promising high quality and engaging remote learning environment, but it requires a sense of shared purpose, trust, support, and collaboration, very similar to what one expects in a traditional face-to-face environment.”

The chapter explores the application of multiple technology-driven learning platforms to engage graduate-level students in emergency remote learning during the COVID-19 pandemic. The authors stress the importance of integrating creativity, communication, collaboration, and critical thinking while teaching and learning at the graduate level. Multiple platforms, technology, and other tools of engagement created a plethora of opportunities for critical thinking, use of various communication styles, various learning styles, and the creative collaboration of students to work together without being together physically in the standard brick and mortar classroom.

“Writing this chapter was an experience from start to finish and a wonderful way to summarize my time as a doctoral student in applied research, academic writing and critical analysis. More so, this chapter speaks to the determination, drive, and faith each UIW student and faculty have in the power of education while living through one of the toughest seasons of our lifetime, a global pandemic. I am grateful to Dr. Guzman-Foster for her guidance and work ethic in co-publishing this piece. She is a true rockstar in graduate studies,” said Cortes-Kennedy.

Alyssa S. Cortes-KennedyCortes-Kennedy is a native South Texan and first-generation college graduate with a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from the University of Texas at San Antonio and a master’s degree in administration from the University of the Incarnate Word. She is a doctoral candidate pursuing a concentration in organizational leadership and a specialty in adult learning and teaching in the Dreeben School of Education’s Graduate Studies Program at UIW. Cortes-Kennedy’s administration and leadership passions stem from her military family history and working in corporate and small business, which include legal, medical and corporate America. She is an active advocate for life-long learning, cancer awareness and research, veterans’ education and the application of faith and duty as a global citizen.

Dr. Guzman-Foster has a Ph.D. in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies. She is a Gates Millennium Scholar and a Spencer Interdisciplinary Fellow. Prior to joining UIW, Dr. Guzman-Foster worked with the Institute for Transformational Learning at the University of Texas Systems developing and producing competency-based instructional materials. Her experience includes online and hybrid pedagogy, curriculum development, teacher education, program evaluation and educational research. Dr. Guzman-Foster taught at the K-12 level, community college level, and at the university level in Texas, Arizona, and Colorado over the past 25 years.