Dordt College News

Dordt graduate education program offered online

May 23, 2011

Beginning this summer, the Dordt College graduate education program will use technology to expand its classroom walls. Dordt's Master of Education program will begin offering a two-year online program in educational leadership that will prepare students for positions as principals in both Christian and public schools. Online classes, assignments, and discussions will give teachers from the Midwest and around the world a new option as they consider where to do advanced studies in education.

Graduate Education Director Tim Van Soelen is eager for the online program to start. “We’ve had some people waiting in the wings, and others who enrolled when they heard the program was beginning. Some teachers and practicing principals asked why we didn’t do this years ago,” he said.

Growing use of the internet and the opportunities it makes available helped convince Dordt education faculty to offer the new program in an online format.

“Online instruction has come a long way in five years,” says Van Soelen. “It does require a shift in thinking. You lose something important if you don’t have face-to-face interaction, but today’s technology allows professors to replicate that in many ways. Today’s technology makes this an exciting and viable option.”

Students will use online resources such as Skype and Camtasia for live weekly group conversations and interactive presentations. Chat rooms will also be used so that classmates can share what they are learning, ask questions, and offer opinions and suggestions. Each person in the program is required to spend a minimum of 400 hours working in schools, accompanied by critical observations and action research. Students will also shadow principals and become involved with a school’s community.

According to Van Soelen, the graduate education committee is also exploring other ways to incorporate online learning options in its curriculum and instruction program. And the possibility of offering a few undergraduate courses on-line is also being discussed.

The Dordt College education department offers bachelor’s degrees and master’s degrees in education. The master’s program is designed to fit into the life of the in-service teacher, even those living far from campus, while providing a high-quality education program. Dordt offers two graduate education tracks: Curriculum and Instruction as well as Educational Leadership.

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