Chih-chieh (Mia) Li

MA in Educational Studies: New Media and New Literacies

Student status: Alum, graduated December 2015

Geographic region of origin: Taiwan

Education prior to Ed Studies MA: Kaohsiung Normal University, Taiwan, majoring in Teaching English as a foreign language (for secondary schools)

Prior to Joining the Program

Prior to joining the program, I taught part-time in an after-school institute for four years during my undergraduate study. After graduating from college, I co-founded an English learning institute and was responsible for teaching, curriculum design and teacher training for five years. I then worked as a research assistant in technology-integrated instruction for a year before enrolling at U-M.

Why the New Media and New Literacies Program?

When I was applying for graduate schools, my top two criteria were (1) a large research-based school and (2) learning with cohorts from diverse subject fields, not limited to teaching languages. U-M and the New Media and New Literacies met my needs. What’s more, I was able to finish my degree within a year.

Another important factor for me was that I was able to take courses in School of Information, where I learned how to apply my experience as a teacher and a student to educational technology design.

When I started my master’s study, my professional goal was to be a faculty member dedicated to teacher education; this was still a vague objective at the time of entering the program. Over the course of the program, I had modified my goal based on my learning experiences, including my internship. By the end of the program, I had updated my career objectives to focus on working as an educational technology consultant and teacher educator in the field of foreign language teaching.


I began my internship as an instructional project assistant at the Language Resource Center in my second semester of the program, and have continued working in this role after graduation. In this context, I am constantly informed of all kinds of technology and pedagogies related to foreign language, culture and literature. As an international student, I found a community where I belong and felt connected to the U.S. educational environment. Specifically, I am responsible for researching current educational technology tools for instructional purposes, consulting with faculty on re-constructing their courses in an online/hybrid environment. Working in tech support, I also assist global exchange courses. This work connects my research interest and lifelong passion, helping me find my career path as an educational technology consultant and a teacher educator.

Individualized Course of Study

Courses I chose included:

What I loved and was benefited a lot in my master’s study was the requirements of course election, for which we can decide on thread courses, electives and cognates on our own. When deciding on my curriculum path, I thought about how these courses can play a role in my resume and future research (because my initial goal after graduation is to be a faculty member).

For the cognates, most of my cohorts took courses in School of Information (SI). I took one (Online Communities) in SI, and many discussions pertaining to the user experience and interface design echoed and enhanced my learning in SOE.

I particularly recommend EDUC 604: Curriculum Development & Evaluation to those interested in designing online/hybrid courses. The readings, discussion and course project filled a gap between my teaching experience and what I needed to know about online/hybrid course design. This course emphasizes evaluation, that is, how to draw evidence from students’ learning outcomes and products to gauge whether the course design meets its goal.

Highlights of the Michigan Experience

It’s hard to name specific highlights because there were so many! One highlight was that I invited a professor from Taiwan to give a talk about gamifying learning here at U-M. I felt proud to introduce amazing pedagogies from my home to my colleagues in the U.S.

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Before arriving in the U.S., I knew I would be taking classes and working with people who might know little about my country, language, culture and school experience. In spite of this awareness, I still had hard time fitting in with my cohort at the very beginning. This was not because I was being excluded; rather, it happened because I did not get to know or understand my classmates well enough at first. My advice to international students is to focus on getting to know the members of your cohort early on, and to challenge yourself to share your knowledge and experiences. It is never easy to join the conversation when you know little about the context, but you can prepare to share your experience in the way that your classmates can understand it even though they have never been to your countries. By doing this, I have had positive experience in the class discussions and when hanging out with friends.

Life after U-M

Currently I am still working at the Language Resource Center on instructional projects in the field of foreign language teaching. My next goal is to get in a PhD program and work at the same time; I have found that I learn better when I am actively applying what I learn to what I do. My master’s study was valuable in teaching me to manage working and studying at the same time. For this reason, I’m very grateful I chose to a program that requires an internship.

Mia invites prospective students to contact her with any questions about the program and student life, as well as career interests in instructional design in higher education. 

Li’s program of study: