Directions | Criteria | Example

Activity A: Autobiography and Educational Philosophy

The online orientation provided an overview of the systematic design process to be studied and applied in this course. Activity A is to be completed individually. To complete Activity A, you are to post (a) an autobiography that describes your current job and academic status and professional background, and assesses your prior knowledge of systematic design by comparing your past experiences with the topics, tools and techniques addressed in this course, and (b) an educational philosophy statement that describes  (1) your beliefs and understanding of how and why people learn, (2) your beliefs and understanding about equity in learning, and (c) and what you believe educators and instructional designers should do to facilitate equitable learning.


  1. Have you ever taught a course or delivered training? Have you ever designed or developed instructional materials? If not, think about some of the best and worst courses you’ve ever taken. Reflect on your past educational experiences in relation to the topics and concepts to be covered in this course.
  2. Prepare a draft autobiographical statement that describes your (a) current work position and job title, (b) your teaching/training experience (c) assessment of how this course relates to what you already know about systematic design, training and instruction, (d) expectations and desired learning outcomes relative to this course, and (e) one interesting aspect about your life (hobbies, personal interests, unusual skill or trait).
  3. Draft an educational philosophy statement (short paragraph about how and why people learn, short paragraph about equity in learning, and a short paragraph about what you think educators and designers should do to facilitate learning).
  4. Compare your initial draft to the performance criteria published for this assignment (below). Revise as required.
  5. Post your autobiography/educational philosophy under the specified discussion topic in Webcourses.
  6. Be sure to check out other students’ autobiographies as desired around the posted due date.


Performance Criteria (+/-)

  • Autobiography includes information about (a) work position, (b) job title, (c) instructional design experience, (d) assessment of what you already know about systematic design, (e) expectations and desired learning outcomes, and (f) one interesting aspect about yourself.
  • Educational philosophy statement includes short paragraph describing how and why people learn, understanding about equity in learning, and a short paragraph about what educators and designers should do to facilitate learning.
  • Both autobiography and educational philosophy statements are clear and concise
  • Both statements are posted properly under specified discussion topic
  • Both statements are posted on or before specified due date
  • Fails to include requested information
  • Unclear
  • Not posted under specified discussion topic
  • Posted after specified due date


Example (Orientation: Autobiography & Educational Philosophy)

Designer’s Note: As I created my autobiography and educational philosophy statement, I used the flow of my predecessor. I, too, thought about my work experiences, though for me that was in Corporate America before the academe. I also reflected on my experiences as a doctoral student and then as a facilitator of learning. Then, I compared my experiences to the topics covered in this course. I also reviewed the performance criteria posted for this assignment to make sure I addressed all required components though perhaps not in the exact order. After writing two preliminary drafts, I reviewed and revised my statement attempting to make it as clear and concise as possible. I then used Pressbook to generate my page so I could include a picture.


Name: L. Trenton S. Marsh, Ph.D.
Job Title: Assistant Professor
Work Place: University of Central Florida
Home Town: Shaker Heights, OH, USA
Contact Information:
L.TrentonMarsh@ucf.edu (email)

My name is L. Trenton S. Marsh, Ph.D., but please call me Dr. Marsh. My preferred pronouns are he and his. I am originally from Shaker Heights, Ohio (a suburb of Cleveland), but I transitioned to Washington, DC as an undergraduate at American University, where I graduated with an Honors BSBA degree double-majoring in Marketing and Enterprise Management. I earned my Master’s degree in Education with a concentration in Human Resource Development at the George Washington University (GW) also located in DC. At GW, one interesting experience I had was making history when I competed and became the first African American male student Commencement Speaker, speaking to a crowd of 23,000 people on the Ellipse (the grass between the White House and the Washington Monument).
While many of my university colleagues in the departments that I have been privileged to serve in, may have wanted to be an educator and envisioned their lives in academia, this was not my trajectory. Immediately after graduating from GW, IBM Corporation hired me as a Managing Business Consultant, at the time IBM was one of the top five largest consulting firms in the world. I was fortunate to both serve as a team member as well as lead global project teams in several capacities, including in applied systematic designs. My clients were often implementing enterprise resource planning tools (think SAP, Workday, Peoplesoft, Oracle). My previous clients include the State of Kentucky, Egypt’s Ministry of Trade and Industry, the University of Cincinnati, the School Board of Broward County, Pfizer, AT&T, Celanese, and many others. Basically, Monday through Thursday I lived in hotels (some fancier than others), rented midsized cars, and racked nearly 1MM of loyalty program miles combined to help clients with technical implementations. That is until I started working on a project in the largest school district in the U.S. that changed my paradigm about consulting and eventually how I saw myself and my life’s purpose [I will provide more details about this epiphany during our first optional synchronous session]. In the end, the project became transformational and would serve as the pivot for my career. I started teaching entrepreneurship on Saturdays, I started traveling the country on my days off speaking to predominantly Black and Latinx young men about academic success, I began reading literature about structural inequities in the context of U.S. schools, particularly urban-situated schools, and I began asking more questions about these inequities but did not find suitable answers. Eventually, I left corporate America to enroll in a full-time Ph.D. program at New York University (NYU).

To be honest, I did not know if I wanted to pursue the academe when I was in my doctoral course. It did not help that I was one of a few Black male students pursuing a Ph.D. at NYU’s Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development. Furthermore, as the sole person with a business background in my cohort, I felt chided at times because of my inexperience in education. Quite frankly there were moments early on when I felt unqualified to be in my program as I was simultaneously being exposed to readings that pushed me into further self-discovery. But I persisted. I have since written about my doctoral experience. In 2017, I graduated from NYU with a Ph.D. in Teaching in Learning with a concentration in urban education, I also have cognate coursework in social psychology. My dissertation, “Success at a price” received the 2015 Mitchell Leaska Dissertation Research Award and the 2016 Phi Delta Kappa Doctoral Dissertation Award. After graduating I accepted and completed a two-year Postdoctoral Research Fellowship at the National Center for Institutional Diversity at the University of Michigan (U-M) in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Centering on equity and diversity, my scholarship has intersecting commitments: (1) confronting disproportionality and understanding the lived experiences of historically marginalized students and families within various educational settings; (2) engaging the multivocality of stakeholders, especially youth, families, and school personnel; to inform practices and micro-level policies that are equitable, relationship-centered, and social justice-oriented settings; and (3) exploring how stakeholder beliefs, practices, and structural policies may influence marginalized individuals’ lives.

I am now an Assistant Professor in the Department of Learning Sciences and Educational Research at the University of Central Florida (UCF). I currently teach Master’s and Doctoral-level courses in the Instructional Technology and Curriculum and Instruction programs. I also serve as the program liaison for the Public Affairs Ph.D. program where I teach courses on qualitative research methodologies and have also developed courses at the intersection of urban education and policy. In addition to UCF, at the post-secondary level, I have taught undergraduate and graduate students at NYU, U-M, and Prairie View A&M University (College of Nursing), and have guest lectured at the University of North Texas and the City University of New York. I have also taught secondary students in Washington, DC, and New York City, NY.

Based on my research and experience, I have published nearly a dozen refereed journal articles, three book chapters, and one encyclopedia chapter, and have made over 60 presentations at international, national, state, and local conferences.

Educational Philosophy

My educational philosophy in a lot of ways mirrors my disposition as a researcher. Like my colleagues in the department, I believe that children, youth/adolescents, and adults alike, learn best from authentic (think real-world), intentional experiences. But I also believe that knowledge is not neutral, and thus the purpose of knowledge creation is to aid people to improve society. Further, as someone who identifies as a social constructivist, in the context of learning, I believe multiple realities exist. Said differently, a learner’s experience in an educational setting can be shaped based on their lived experiences. Those experiences, positive, negative, or indifferent, could be tied to their culture, ethnicity/race, gender, geography, linguistics, and even discrimination that the learner might have experienced based on those identifiers. Finally, as a facilitator I believe in the respect of learners’ values, yet simultaneously want learners to embark on coursework with an open mind and a commitment to surveying, comprehending, and analyzing the extant ideas, theories, and empirical data that may be presented seminally and contemporaneously within the course.

To facilitate learning, I believe educators and instructional designers should:

  • Present learners with real-life problems or challenges;
  • Enable learners to access their diverse experiences and (re)learn facts, concepts, procedure, and principles when needed to solve problems and overcome challenges;
  • Actively engage learners by stimulating their prior knowledge, curiosity, and senses; and
  • Present learners with clear, explicit, measurable and congruent expectations and assessment criteria.

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Last Updated 08/19/22


Instructional System Design Copyright © by Atsusi Hirumi. All Rights Reserved.

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