Running head: REFLECTION ON EDDE804 1 Reflection on EDDE 804 Su-Tuan Lulee Instructor: Dr. Martha Cleveland-Innes EDDE804 Leadership & Project Management in Distance Education Athabasca University 8 April 2011
Running head: REFLECTION ON EDDE804 2 Reflection on EDDE 804This is my first formal leadership course taken with an academic institution. Before I began EDDE 804, Iknew very little about leadership theories, although I have a long history of working as a high-rankingofficer in small to middle corporations. This course has helped me put the scattered pieces ofexperiences together and now I am able to examine the leadership issues I have encountered based ontheoretical models. Now I have moved from unschooled toward disciplinary understanding (Mansilla &Gardner, 1998).Regarding what I have learned from EDDE 804, I will elaborate it using the Understanding frameworkproposed by Mansilla and Gardner in 1998. The Understanding framework highlights four dimensions ofunderstanding: knowledge, methods, purposes, and forms. The following uses of terms are all based onthe definitions given by Mansilla and Gardner (1998)Knowledge Dimension assesses the extent to which students have learned about the topic. In thisregard, I have surveyed the most influential constructs of leadership theories and have got to know howthe theories have evolved over time from trait and behavior-based leadership theories to context-related emergent and contingency leadership theories; or to leader-member relationship-basedtransactional or transformational leadership theories; and recently, to the distributed and complexityleadership theory. I have tried to examine each theory systematically: the definition in the beginning,followed by the argument, the discussions, and then the implementations in a real world context. Myinterpretation is that each leadership theory examines leadership from different angles. They all presenta relative usefulness and they are all helpful if they had the right match with the particular context. Ihave had deep-level studies on transformational and complexity leadership theories because I assumedthat these two theories are most useful in the information era and they are the best fit for current trendtoward openness in education. However, during my working on the capstone project – the portfolio, Irealized that none of the leadership theory is out-dated: you just need to make appropriate choices onleadership types at different times.The methods dimension examines the disciplinary processes of inquiry. I have completed a short paper,a group project, and a portfolio during the past 13 weeks. I debated on why I consider thetransformational leadership theory as the right theory for education; I teamed up with two distinguishedcolleagues to systematically explore the potential cost-effectiveness of open learning and openeducational resources that are newly emerged in the field; and I have developed a portfolio based onthe literature review, virtual field investigation, and information analysis, synthesis and evaluation. Allthe methodology accompanied with the activities will benefit my future academic development.The purposes dimension assesses the understanding of why the topic matters and how information andprocesses of this sort might be useful. Throughout the course, I learned that leadership is critical to thesuccess of projects. Anyone who is capable of influence others and make changes can be considered as aleader. School principals are leaders; project heads are leaders; and teachers are leaders in the
Running head: REFLECTION ON EDDE804 3classroom, too. I have acknowledged that the effective use of leadership theories will make a differencein student achievement (Wright, 2008).Finally, the forms dimension pays attention to the forms in which understanding is performed such ascommunication or presentation using symbol systems (visual, verbal, and body kinesthetic, etc.). InEDDE 804, I have practiced the techniques for writing academic papers again; I have presented in ourgroup project report; I have participated in interviews for case studies; and I have created a websiteusing Drupal, an open source content management system. Most of all, after completing EDDE 804, I amable to conduct professional discussions on leadership using terminologies.Now I can see more clearly about why some leaders are memorable while others are not. I might not beenthusiastic in the pursuit of leader positions; I will certainly strive to be a respectable change agent indistance education in the future.
Running head: REFLECTION ON EDDE804 4 References Mansilla, V. B., & Gardner, H. (1998). What are the Qualities of Understanding? In M. S. Wiske (Ed.), Teaching for Understanding: Linking Research with Practice (1st ed., pp. 161-196). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass. Wright, L. L. (2008). Merits and Limitations of Distributed Leadership: Experiences and Understandings of School Principals. Canadian Journal of Educational Administration and Policy, (69).