Q&A with UM Instructional Design Teacher Jennifer Fetner

Kathy DeanEducation, Faculty Q&A, News

University of Mobile School of Education faculty member Jennifer Fetner loves the field of technology because there is always something new to learn. She says the constant change never gets boring, and there are always new challenges to conquer. As an adjunct instructor in the School of Education and a technology support teacher at a local elementary school, Fetner is passionate about helping others harness the power of technology to enhance learning, whether it’s in the corporate or school setting.

We asked Fetner about teaching in UM’s new Master of Education in Instructional Design and Technology program, and what “Know and Be Known” means to her.

Q: How has the pandemic impacted the importance of technology in learning?

A: With the current pandemic, it is crucial that our remote/online students and face-to-face students receive the same, equal education. There are so many technology tools that teachers and professionals can use to help students be more successful, whether they are in your classroom or at home. Online and face-to-face learning should be engaging, interactive and collaborative. We should be encouraging critical thinking and problem solving.

There are an endless amount of ways to make learning exciting and fun through the use of technology. I am currently participating in a “Blended Learning Leaders Academy,” and I am excited to earn my certification and share my knowledge with others. I just love to see the impact that technology can have on education, and my ultimate career goal is to share that knowledge with others.

Q: You teach in UM’s new Master of Education in Instructional Design and Technology program. Who can benefit from that degree?

A: This program is an excellent choice if you want to become a leader in the field of technology or instructional design. We have all had to navigate through this pandemic, learning as we go. The face of education and teaching has changed, and technology is a vital part of that change. Now more than ever, employers will be looking for employees with a strong background in technology and instructional design. Remote learning, blended learning and face-to-face learning are all here to stay, and they are so neatly intertwined together. Through this program, you will gain a more in-depth understanding of how instructional design is crucial to student success and how technology can support learning and the achievement of students.

Q: What is your background?

A: I have taught as an adjunct instructor at the University of Mobile since 2017. My bachelor’s and master’s degrees are in elementary education. I earned my master’s degree from the University of Mobile in 2014 and I received my Ed.S. in instructional technology from Auburn University at Montgomery in 2016. I also completed the Instructional Leader program at The University of West Alabama, and I now hold a Class A Instructional Leader certificate from the State of Alabama. I taught first grade for 7 years, third grade for 4 years, and for the past three years I have been the technology support teacher at J.E. Turner Elementary.

Q: Why are you interested in instructional technology?

A: When I went to school to get my instructional technology degree, my career goal was to help not only teachers, but also corporate leaders and trainers, integrate technology into their curriculum and training programs. I truly believe that technology is a tool that can be used to help increase student engagement and enhance student learning, whether that is in the classroom or in a corporate setting.

Q: We say UM is a place students can “Know and Be Known.” What does that mean to you?

A: I believe that to “Know and Be Known” simply put means forming relationships, not only with my students, but by building a stronger relationship with God through my interactions with my students. I always give my students my phone number simply because sometimes they need to talk and I need to listen. I always spend time building community in my classes at the beginning of the semester. We do silly things like make memes, videos, etc. It allows me the opportunity to get to know my students and understand the things they are dealing with as they work to complete their degrees. I absolutely love that I get to be a part of their journey, and my goal is to be a positive influence in their life.

Q: What do you like most about UM?

A: That is an easy question! I LOVE that UM is so welcoming, friendly and Christ-centered. The University of Mobile never fails to make me feel valued. This is a place full of faith and love. I absolutely love teaching here!