Join the celebration of global education Nov. 21

Poster SizeMark your calendar for Thursday, Nov. 21, for an EduGator adventure across international borders at the College of Education’s eighth annual Comparative and International Education Day. Former UF educational technology professor Cathy Cavanaugh will be the event’s keynote speaker. Cavanaugh was the associate director of the Abu Dhabi Women’s College in the United Arab Emirates for almost two years. 

The College of Education’s Office of Student Services sponsors the annual celebration as a part of International Education Week, a global project of the U.S. departments of Education and State. 

Expect an afternoon filled with multicultural treats and intellectual conversations about education around the world and how to become involved in global learning opportunities. 


Cathy Cavanaugh

Here is your International Education Day itinerary: 

12:00-1:15 p.m.: Start your exploration at the country showcase featuring information about Korea, Nepal, India, Ecuador and Iran and food from local favorite restaurants. 

1:30-2:30 p.m.: Learn about the educational and professional experiences of a panel of international students. 

2:35-3:35 p.m.: Hear from Cathy Cavanaugh as she discusses education in the United Arab Emirates. 

Sessions will take place in the College of Education’s Terrace Room, located in G400 in Norman Hall. Each presentation is open to the public. 

For more information, contact Hollie Daniels at


UF education, medical colleges team up on new master’s degree to help doctors become better teachers

The University of Florida colleges of Education and Medicine have joined forces to offer a new master’s degree program geared toward not only helping physicians be better teachers, but also training them to be scholars in the field.

The online joint master’s degree program will begin in the fall and is open to physicians across the state.

“Most faculty arrive at their position without any formal training in teaching techniques and best practices,” said Marian Limacher, M.D., senior associate dean for faculty affairs and professional development in the College of Medicine. “They have been students so long themselves they have developed their own style, but it may not be founded in best practices.”

Teaching is generally not a skill taught in medical school, as physicians-in-training are more focused on learning about the process of disease and how to treat patients. But as physicians move forward in their careers and become teachers themselves, of medical students, residents and fellows, there is a need for more advanced knowledge in instructional strategies and also research methods used to measure educational outcomes, which differ from the research techniques used in medical science.


“Many health science professionals have been exposed to a monochromatic view of education that is lecture-based and behavioristically driven,” said Erik Black, Ph.D., an assistant professor in the College of Medicine department of pediatrics and the College of Education School of Teaching and Learning. “That is not necessarily where medical education is going. Today, there is a growing emphasis on small group learning, team-based learning and constructivist principles of instruction and learning.

“There is a need for medical educators to learn about and incorporate more contemporary educational methods. It is something students request and something faculty want but do not necessarily know how to deliver.”

The 36-hour master’s degree program will arm physicians with instructional strategies they can use in the clinical education setting and give them the tools to assess educational efforts, as well. Courses include subjects such as instructional design, research methods in professional and medical education, adult teaching and learning and more.The program stems from a pilot project faculty members in the colleges of Education and Medicine have been working on for the past two years. As part of that project, funded by the Department of Education’s Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education, five UF physicians and a pharmacist are receiving master’s degrees in education, with a focus on using technology in education.

“We see so much potential in the connection between our two colleges. It is a unique arrangement and has helped us to move this work along,” said Elizabeth Bondy, professor and director of the School of Teaching and Learning in the College of Education. “At the bedside, there is a lot of teaching and learning that goes on in those moments. What we do in the School of Teaching and Learning is focus on teaching and learning in diverse settings.”

UF education technology professors Kara Dawson and Cathy Cavanaugh were instrumental in the degree program’s creation while Bondy and School of Teaching and Learning faculty members Kent Crippen, Dorene Ross and Sevan Terzian have worked on developing the curriculum.

Eventually, the program likely will be opened up to professionals in other health fields as well, Black said.

For clinical educators in the College of Medicine, the issue is particularly important. The college is currently revising its tenure and promotion guidelines so that faculty who have pursued advanced education in teaching and who are conducting research in medical education can use this in their tenure applications, Limacher said.

“We think this program will have appeal to a number of folks within the College of Medicine,” Limacher said.





International group cites Ed.D. graduate’s online-learning research

Julia Carpenter, a recent UF doctoral (Ed.D.) graduate in educational technology, has been awarded the Online Learning Innovator Award for Outstanding Research from iNACOL, the International Association for K-12 Online Learning, for her dissertation study on increasing student motivation and completion rates in online courses.

Motivation is key in virtual schooling, where students take an active role in their self-directed learning. Carpenter used a special “course-interest” survey instrument to poll 78 ninth-grade students in an online English course at Florida Virtual School. She found that the most motivating factors for online students were frequent instructor communication and constructive instructor feedback. She also discovered that experienced instructors more effectively built student confidence and satisfaction. Their expertise, she concluded, would be valuable in building professional training for novice online instructors.

The iNACOL Online Learning Innovator Award is highly competitive, drawing some 30 entries from higher education institutions across the nation. Carpenter will accept her award at iNACOL’s Virtual School Symposium in Indianapolis on Nov. 9.

Carpenter graduated in August with her Ed.D. in educational technology as part of the first graduating class for the new online degree program in curriculum and instruction, with an emphasis in educational technology. She is a senior instructional systems designer at defense contractor General Dynamics’ information-technology unit in Orlando. UF’s education technology program also has appointed her as an adjunct instructor starting the spring semester.

Her research was supervised by Cathy Cavanaugh, UF associate professor in education technology, who has also received research awards from iNACOL. The international nonprofit group, based in Washington, D.C., has more than 3,800 members and works through advocacy, research and professional development to drive future directions in K-12 online education.