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Shifting to Online Education

As part of our own Jonathan Garber’s webcast series, he continues to interview leaders in the community who share tips and strategies to help us all Thrive during the Coronavirus shutdown. Today, Jonathan is joined by Tanya Scotece, Professor of Funeral Service Education at Miami Dade College. She shares insights into careers in Funeral Direction as well as her shift to online education.

If you’re a leader and want to share your knowledge with the market, email Jonathan at [email protected]



Hi everybody. This is Jonathan Garber with Flying Chimp Media. Thank you for joining me again today with me on the web is Miss Tonya Scott easy, who is the professor of Funeral Service education at Miami Dade College. Good morning, Tania. Good morning, Jonathan. How are you today? I’m doing great. How are you? Good, staying safe and transitioning from being in the classroom to online and now talking with you great. Well, it’s an it’s a good transition to make thank you very much for taking the time to talk with me and my audience tell us a little bit about the program. This is the funeral science service education with who goes there. What they come out doing? Yeah good great question. So first of all, we are one of three programs in the State of Florida in Miami Dade College has face-to-face curriculum, obviously prior to the pandemic. MC but we are one of three and there’s currently a fluctuates approximately 56 more or less programs across the United States for people interested in becoming funeral directors and embalmers and really having a presence in the funeral procession. Okay. So, you know, I guess it’s kind of like lawyers, right? Nobody wants to talk about a lawyer until you need one and nobody wants to talk about funeral science until you need one. So You cover Funeral Directors the embalmers the people that train them how to handle the body how to set up a funeral service all kinds of different faiths religions practices have to be you have to know it. All right, exactly. Exactly. So, the program is an associate of science. So, it’s two-year program and we take both Arts and Sciences, which is actually governed by the American Board of Funeral Service education. And for those of you watching that want to Google ABF se you can find out more about how the governing board actually governs Mortuary programs in the United States. So, folks that are interested can apply to the college and then they get accepted into the program. And again, it’s a two-year program. If you go full time. Some folks are working in other areas and prefer to take it a little bit slower, maybe take one or two classes as they see fit once, they complete the program. They take What’s called the national board exam which allows them to be a funeral director in the United States and then depending on the state of where they want to actually practice. They do a one-year internship for example in Florida and then they take a state board for rules and regulations that governs everything that happens in the State of Florida also one and once completed they actually will have a fully licensed funeral director and embalmer license that allows them to be meeting families serving all different faiths religions cultures like you mentioned. Wow. Ow, so I think about how few programs there are that cover this in the country and I think well if you are in North Dakota or Michigan or Detroit or Chicago and he suppose you think I’m going to I’m going to pursue this what L wouldn’t I do it in South Florida? Right? I mean, this is a this is a pretty good place to be but usually this time of year. Yes. So, we have a lot of international students. It is, you know, Miami is very, you know, hot areas to be in not necessarily specifically with covid-19, but it’s just, you know, it’s a nice area to be in and yep. We have a lot of international students from Jamaica the Bahamas Curacao many other different countries that actually they can take that degree from here from Miami Dade College and get an accreditation in their home country. Yeah some of the when your International regulation some countries do not have such stringent regulations like the United States. So, it would depend on what country they want to practice in or open a funeral home in but again, it’s a great profession. Both for folks may be looking to do something different that kind of combines both the creative side in the Sciences in a quite honestly like a two-year degree. So, I mean, it’s not like they’re, you know, we have to go to graduate school or anything for those of for those folks that want to pursue. Do further education or if they come in with for example with a bass bachelor’s or master’s degree? They can you know, get the associates and then go on to maybe further education, which is what I did. I actually got my associates to then my bachelor’s Master’s and then my doctorate so because as far as teaching in higher ed most places require minimum of a master’s degree in education and then allow you so many years to get a higher degree, which is either a PhD EDD or JD to fulfill the T yes dr. T. Yes. Yes. So, let me ask you a tough question. The program is amazing again. Probably one of the leading ones in the country certainly in the Southeast. What’s it been? Like mean so many parts of your program our hands on but what’s it been like transitioning? Are you doing classes online or doing independent study or groups? How’s that working? For? Sure. First, I want to just say that Jonathan know. The only question that’s actually a stupid question is the one that’s not ask. So, every question that’s asked is a great question. So, for Miami-Dade, I’ll speak for myself personally. We have transitioned from face to face in the classroom to fully being online. And then there’s two Branch the professors can take, and this is college-wide not necessarily Funeral Service program. We can maintain synchronistic learning which means that you still maintain the same classroom daytime and we just meet virtually Just as you and I are meeting right? Yeah, or the professor’s also have the option of meeting a synchronistically which means they could put up module quizzes exams videos, whatever they choose and the student kind of goes at their Leisure. So, give you an example So currently this semester I’m teaching six classes prior to us having turned virtually one was a synchronistic which is a funeral history class and the other five. I’m actually meeting with the students in the classroom. So, what I’ve done in is I’ve taken my students in the classroom transition them to Blackboard collaborate Ultra, which is what the Forum the venue that Miami-Dade has provided to us. Some schools may be more familiar with angel or canvas or other modalities. And we what I do is hold a virtual classroom and I Encompass all of my background with all the adult education. That’s actually what my doctorate is in as far as helping students learn in an environment that is conducive to their learning style. So, for example, I will make sure that I Cover lecture will make sure we cover breakout sessions breakout groups interacting for people who like Hands-On learning we might do some group reading we may do some you know visual. We have a whiteboard that we can use just like back in the day a chalkboard so we can really have a virtual experience. I’ve also had some guest speakers come into my classroom, which is awesome. And I think all the knowledge that we can, you know, give the students the challenging part, I think. Think has been for some of the professors especially like me as you know, Jonathan. I have an AOL account which I’m very proud of and I like the challenge. I’m like the dinosaur and he ends and for me, you know going from in the classroom to online. I really had to take the leap of faith. So, to speak and use all my adult education principles into making sure that the students can have a virtual enhanced experience. That’s great for them to learn so fantastic. We applaud you for joining us. 21st century blood Kicking and Screaming, but you went there. I am learning can students who are in your program attend other classes at the college outside of the program if they find something that interests them that is a great question. I’m not sure if the college itself has done that. For example, I know there’s like a guest link, so to speak that we could give so maybe if somebody wanted to maybe sit in on a class. that’s you know, that’s a great thing. I think I will bring that to my supervisor and see if that can be done for people just to kind of you know, they’re like, yeah, that’s awesome question. So, I will look into that Jonathan. Thank you. So they could be you know as well-rounded as possible Tanya if people are interested in learning more about the program, maybe they’ve got a niece or a nephew or a child that’s kicking around this sure what to do and they think you know what this is a good paying job. It’s solid two years to Get through it. What’s the best way for them to reach you and learn more about the program? So, for me personally, I have a big presence on LinkedIn. It’s like my home away from home. So, anybody that’s seeing this can join me on LinkedIn under Tanya’s go TC and the director of the mortuary science program at Miami Dade College is dr. Josephine of Cairo. He would be the directors far as any applications that would go directly to him. So first step would be for people watching maybe, you know, if you want to go directly to the College check out the website or feel free to contact with me and I can actually have a conversation with you maybe about the program may be some challenges that people are kind of, you know, looking not to face as far as how it’s done really what the career looks like prior to me becoming a professor at Miami Dade. I was active funeral director and hiring manager with Farley Funeral Homes and Crematory on the west coast of Florida. So, I bring to the table both, you know experience in the funeral home and now on the education side, so if I can answer Any questions or be a value to anybody that is seeking out an answer. I will do my best to give them one. And if not, I’ll research it for you. Okay? Well, hopefully you will get some request some friend request on LinkedIn and I really appreciate what you’re doing people who work in education people are making this transition and just keeping the program’s alive or just vital to the community and I thank you very much for your dedication to that craft and the time you spent with me today are very much. appreciate it. Thank you so much Jonathan. It’s been a pleasure and whatever I can do for the field of education at Miami Dade. We have a motto student first. So, we like strive for that motto in everything that we do, so, thank you. Again Jonathan. I know you live that motto. So, thank you. Thank you. My pleasure. Take care.


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