XtremeLabs is excited to be featuring a panel of academic instructors in our upcoming webinar to discuss current topics for technology learning at colleges and universities. The May webinar will be geared towards technology professors, students, and those who support the academic community– Technology Learning for the Academic Community.
Date: Tuesday, May 24, 2022
Time: 10:00AM US EST
Location: Microsoft Teams (Virtual)
Dr. Rasha ElSaheli-Elhage is an Associate Professor of Special Education at Chicago State University. She holds a Ph.D. from Wayne State University in Educational Evaluation and Research, an M.A. in Special Education from Eastern Michigan University, and a B.A. in Special Education from Saint Joseph University (Beirut, Lebanon). For over 16 years, Dr. ElSaheli-Elhage was a special education teacher, eleven of which were in Michigan public schools including the cities of Detroit and Dearborn. She also worked as a consultant on School Reform and International Assessment for private and public schools and ministries in the Middle East. Her research interests focus on transition and on increasing employability and independence of young adults with special needs and improving their quality of life. Recently, she has developed an interest in online teaching and learning, especially after the unprecedented switch to remote learning due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- What inspired you to become a professor? Can you tell us about your career path?
As a former and forever Special Education Teacher, I always felt the need to be the voice for those who did not have one, especially since I started my career in the Middle East, where the rights of students with disabilities are not understood or applied. After spending 16 years in the classroom, I worked on school improvement projects and International Assessments in the Arab world before settling as a faculty member at Chicago State University.
- Why is it important to have technology subjects in college and universities?
Technology has become the new normal. One can no longer be successful without digital literacy. Hence, if the goal of a college degree is to prepare our future workforce, it is essential to incorporate technology in every aspect of it.
- Can you tell us about the background of the students that you teach?
I work at a Predominantly Black Institution (PBI). Many of our students are First-Generation college graduates. Many rely on scholarships and financial aid to support their education.
- How do you (or how does your college) decide which topics to cover each year?
The Special Education Program at CSU is guided by the Standards set by the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) which is our Specialized Professional Association (SPA). These standards list a set of knowledge and skills needed to be a successful special education teacher. Our topics and material selections are based on these standards, in addition to standards set by the Illinois Board of Education (ISBE) and standards set by the College of Education.
- How has the pandemic impacted college and universities and academic learning?
The pandemic accelerated the trend toward online education and proved the importance of possessing technology and digital literacy for both instructors and students. It also highlighted weaknesses in infrastructure and brought to the surface issues of inequity and the digital divide in our society.