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DCE Magazine

Instructor Q&A: Dr. Steven R. Antonoff

Independent Educational Consultant Instructor

Summer 2017

Q. Why did you decide to become an instructor?

A. While the Independent Educational Consulting field is expanding exponentially, only perhaps 10,000 individuals internationally are engaged in this work — a small number in comparison to most professions. Because the students in the Independent Educational Consulting certificate program are spread across the globe, online learning has proven the best way of transmitting material. Our online classrooms consist of individuals in Boise and Biloxi and as far away as Novosibirsk and Guatemala City. I chose to become an instructor because of my desire to reach these students. I want to pass on the body of knowledge of the field to those who share my interest and passion for the subject. And perhaps just as important, I want to help shape the future of the profession.

Q. What's your favorite lesson to teach and why?

A. My favorite lesson is always “where do we go from here?” Any class is only as good as the followup steps my students take when they leave the classroom. A great course is one that encourages students to move forward in specific ways. For students in the field of Independent Educational Consulting, that next step might mean joining a professional organization or attending a professional meeting. It might mean setting a goal for how many college visits to complete in the six months following the class. It might mean identifying books to read, webinars to attend, and people to follow on Twitter. It might mean developing a website and determining whether to lease office space. I believe it is essential that my students understand that any class (whether online or in a classroom) is merely the beginning of the journey.

Q. What's unique about your teaching style?

A. I'm not sure it's unique, but I try to continually keep in mind each student's background and relate it to the class I am teaching. Adult learners bring a wealth of experiences and insights to our classrooms, and I feel it is essential to recognize and respect those experiences and insights. Online teaching features several digital “touchpoints” — moments that allow you to connect directly with your students. For example, I try to welcome students to my class by commenting on their unique expertise. Another touchpoint occurs when I provide feedback on a project and can highlight how students’ special gifts can be put to use in their new field. Any opportunity to reach students individually — such as responses to student postings — can qualify as a touchpoint. It is up to each instructor to identify these touchpoints and utilize them to ensure that every student feels included and heard.

Q. What do you find most rewarding about being an instructor?

A. Teaching in the Division of Continuing Education enables me to make the field of educational consulting come alive for people from all over the world. The UCI classroom allows me to share with my online students all the rewards of this profession. The invigorating challenge of working with adolescents. The positive feeling that comes from being a part of a young person's decision about her future. The excitement of witnessing change in high school student attitudes. The joy of seeing a teenager's face light up when he realizes he has a range of “good match” colleges to choose from. And of course, as an instructor, I enjoy a special benefit: the chance to educate new practitioners and help them find the pride in being a respected expert in a much-needed and growing profession.