Transitioning to fully online improves M.Ed. program accessibility
- Posted Thursday, December 27, 2018
The Master of Education program at Dordt College has transitioned to a fully online degree. Previously, 97 percent of the program was online, with a single summer intensive class held on campus. The transition to a fully online program will provide the convenient, 100 percent online program that many working professionals are looking for; it will also enable international students to gain easier access to the program.
“We see a growing number of teachers from other countries for whom a trip to campus is too cost prohibitive,” says Dr. Steve Holtrop, director of graduate studies at Dordt. “So our graduate program often gets ruled out as an option for them even though they would like a Reformed perspective in a graduate program.”
Dordt’s Master of Education thoroughly integrates faith into learning and offers more than 40 courses within two tracks of Curriculum and Instruction or Administration, offering eight specializations such as School Leadership, Teacher Leadership, and Sport Leadership. The program has grown during the last 10 years, with 143 students currently enrolled.
Joe Bakker, director of online education at Dordt, says, “It is important to offer online learning options to provide opportunities for individuals to earn degrees that also have other responsibilities that prevent them from enrolling in a face-to-face program, such as a full-time job or living far away from the college.”
The program is designed to be flexible, affordable, and collaborative, involving peers in similar professional situations, with practical, relevant, and immediately applicable projects for both classroom teachers and administrators.
“We take Dordt’s number one ranking in student engagement very seriously in the grad program. Our online courses typically use Zoom meetings, discussion forums, group projects, and other collaborative online tools to maximize personal connections and peer-to-peer learning in all our online courses,” says Holtrop.
The program utilizes the Canvas learning management system. Dordt has several employees dedicated to training, coaching, and troubleshooting the Canvas system, ensuring that the online learning experience is high quality and meets each student’s learning needs.