When I first opened the webpage for the Washington State K-12 Laws and Regulations, I soon was lost in a sea of codes and laws, including everything from holiday instructions to food services. Although it seemed a bit overwhelming, one of the most helpful areas for me to read up on was the Professional Educator Standards Board. In the different chapters of this law, the requirements to be met by a Washington state teacher are clearly stated. It also displays the laws for teachers to follow while continuing their education throughout their career. After reading through some of the laws on the Washington certification requirements, it made my future classes at SPU even more relevant. The site said that approved universities for certification are held accountable by the state of Washington to meet every requirement given by the state legislature. These laws are specific in the necessary course work and classroom experience the approved universities are to provide.
The online manual for organization and financing of Washington Public Schools was very interesting. I looked at how Washington Public Schools spend their money, who spends it, and the rules and regulations that have to be followed amidst all this. The manual informed me about state funding for education, noting that Washington is the seventh in the nation in the percentage of school district operating revenue that is provided from state funding.
The family resources tab from the OSPI homepage is a helpful place for both parents and teachers alike. It reminds faculty and staff in education the standards that they are being held to. The resources tab also makes educators somewhat transparent. When parents can go online and see these standards, they can then hold educators accountable, which provides a system of checks and balances. It was also helpful to read the Parent and Student Rights to better understand what parent-teacher and student-teacher relationships should look like.
On the Washington State Learning Standards page I enjoyed reading the learning goals that each Washington state teacher should strive for. Since I will be obtaining a Visual Arts endorsement, I looked through the Arts Standards Manual and found the OSPI Arts Mission which reads as follows: “The Arts: Communicating and integrating life, literacy, and learning through experience for all learners.” It is good to be aware of the overall mission, because that level of communication is what can unite teachers instead of divide them. It has been extremely useful to see the standards of education to which Washington State holds its educators. Hopefully, these high standards will induce the results that the state and educators alike are desiring.
I think one of the key pieces that this tutorial gave in defining paraphrasing is that it should give the meaning of an author’s ideas in a different form. This tutorial reminds me that correct paraphrasing is explaining something in my own words, and displaying that I completely understand the subject matter. I found module 2 of the tutorial the most helpful since it plainly stated rules for paraphrasing that would always avoid plagiarism. The tutorial gave a simple question to always ask yourself by saying, “Are these ideas my own?” If the answer is no, then I will always have to give credit to the source. The tutorial also made a key distinction between summarizing text and directly quoting text. Since summarizing is putting an author’s ideas into my own words and clearly showing my knowledge of the subject matter, it still needs the author’s name and date of publication.
I used APA in my undergrad for my research papers, but it was very good to get a refresher on it from the online tutorial. This reminded me of what a consistent page header looks like, as well as a other formatting rules. The outline for the different types of headings that are used in APA formatting was a helpful clear and concise table of how to choose the correct heading. I liked how the tutorial went over the many different rules about citation. APA style uses the author and then date means of citation in the text. If it is a direct quotation, then I need to include the specific page number. I took a screen shot of Basic Citations Styles Chart that was in the online tutorial, so that I can refer back to it when writing papers. I found these online APA tutorials to be very helpful and will be a resource that I will continue to utilize throughout my program at SPU.
I really liked that SPU had a video introduction and tour of their library. I think that the online library and catalog will be extremely helpful since we are all commuters. It was also helpful to learn about the course reserves in case a Professor posts any extra reading materials there. In my undergrad, we constantly used journal articles for research papers and it helped to hear how to search SPU’s databases for online journals. The online resources page and web links posted by the librarians also looked quite helpful. I learned how to efficiently use Academic Search Premier by making sure that my search terms are specific and accurate. The information ethics tutorial was a helpful reminder of when to cite and when not to cite while completing research papers and assignments. This reminded me to always cite quotations, interpreted facts, and paraphrasing. Of course I do not need to cite my original thoughts and common knowledge, but I need to remember to be careful in deciphering what categories information should fit into.
After watching the tutorial, I have a much better grasp on being an online student at SPU. It helped me realize what the different tools are and how I can utilize them. I followed their instructions and downloaded all the necessary plug-ins to my Mac. I also took note that Firefox will be my browser of choice (which explains my previous difficulty in logging into SPU’s data bases). It also helped to listen to the terminology that is used in online teaching. The main points that I took from the Netiquette tutorial was to always treat online discussions with grace and use extra time to type your thoughts. What is said face to face, is not always portrayed the same way online. I should be careful to choose my words wisely. This will be my first time doing an online class, and I want to utilize these resources as best I can to aid my online learning.