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Best Online Master’s Degrees in: Education Technology

Editor’s Picks: Online Schools for Education Technology

Flexibility

Ashford University claimed our award for best flexibility. College Prowler gave the university a grade of “A+” for academic flexibility, which indicates the degree to which a school makes reasonable accommodations to work around a student’s daily schedule. In determining the grade, College Prowler considers class availability, the ease of transferring credits, the ease of registering for classes, and time investment required.

Career Support

DeVry University won our award for best career services because of HireDeVry, its national job lead database. College Prowler gave DeVry University a grade of “A-” for career services, which indicates that the school is very supportive in helping its students find jobs after they graduate. According to the university website, 90.1% of graduates active in the job market are employed in a career-related position within six months of graduation. The university’s HireDeVry service allows students and alumni to connect with employers and obtain job leads through its online interactive tool. HireDeVry also offers students and alumni other tools as well, including a resume builder and a searchable listing of job fairs in their communities.

Financial Support

Fresno Pacific University won our award for financial support. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, 100% of Fresno Pacific University’s full-time beginning undergraduate students received some sort of financial aid in the 2010-2011 school year. The university offers a variety of financial aid programs, including governmental and private scholarships, grants, and loans, to students who want to pursue a degree but need assistance to do so.

Technology Support

Georgia Southern University claimed our award for best technology support. U.S. News & World Report placed Georgia Southern University 13th in its rankings of the best student services and technology of the top online graduate education programs. Georgia Southern University’s online program offers students career placement assistance, live tutoring, a smartphone application, and some of the course content is delivered through live streaming video.

Student Engagement

Central Michigan University won our award for student engagement. U.S. News & World Report placed the university third in its student engagement and accreditation rankings of the top online graduate education programs. Central Michigan University professors set aside three office hours per week and they respond to a student’s questions within 24 hours.

Faculty Credentials

The University of Nebraska – Kearney earned our award for faculty credentials. U.S. News & World Report placed it fourth in its ranking of faculty credentials and training of the top online graduate education programs. According to U.S. News, 100% of the university’s faculty have at least two years of online teaching experience. The university’s professors are required to participate in an online instruction training program, which the school finances.

Faculty Accessibility and Involvement

The University of North Carolina earned our award for faculty accessibility and involvement. College Prowler gave the university a grade of “A-” for academics, which demonstrates that the school’s professors are knowledgeable, accessible, and that they care about their students’ success. College Prowler also factors in class size, professors’ communications skills, and how engaging the classes are.

Alumni Engagement

Purdue University claimed our award for alumni engagement because of the benefits and services it offers to its graduates. Members of the alumni association have access to an online directory so they can keep in touch with former classmates, the opportunity to join a local alumni club, and discounts on life and health insurance plans. Purdue University alumni also have access to lifelong career services, such as job search coaching and interview preparation, free of charge.

Explore a Master’s Degree in Education Technology

An online master’s degree in education technology gives students an opportunity to closely examine how modern technology can be used to enhance the educational process, promote student engagement, and potentially improve student educational outcomes. Students pursuing an online master’s degree in education technology are people who realize that the learning landscape has changed from white boards, textbooks, and lectures, to incorporate Smart Boards, e-books, iPads, and online learning. Students will learn how to design instructional systems that implement technology, how to utilize audio and video in classrooms, how to integrate online learning tools and educational software in instruction, and more.

Most online master’s degree programs are set up to be completed in two years of full-time study, although some accelerated programs can be completed in as little as one year. Accelerated online programs are rigorous and intensive, and require a student to attend the program full time and year-round. Part-time students will generally take longer to complete an education technology program. Some master’s programs in education technology are available in a hybrid format, requiring a blend of online and on-campus instruction, while others are delivered 100% online.

Class Curriculum

The curriculum in an online master’s degree program in education technology may be divided into foundation courses, core courses, electives, and specialization courses. Students are generally exposed to established types of educational technology widely being used in classrooms, as well as emerging education technology that has yet to be put to widespread use. Many courses are focused on building practical skills, such as designing distance education courses, or conducting technology needs assessments for schools. While required course work differs greatly from program to program, a few courses you may encounter could include:

  • Introduction to Educational Technology. In this course, students are given a broad overview of today’s educational software, methods of using technology in various learning environments, and means of introducing innovative technology into traditional educational settings. Emphasis is on research-based best practices, as well as the primary barriers to integrating educational technology in modern classrooms.
  • Educational Technology Integration. This course examines different theories, models, and case studies for integrating technology into the classroom in a way that does not significantly disrupt the present education process. Students look at challenges and obstacles involved in integrating new technology, as well as practical solutions that mitigate those challenges.
  • Measuring the Impact of Technology on Learning. In this course, students learn quantitative research methods by which they can evaluate the effectiveness of education technology. As a result of gathering and interpreting this data, students learn how effective certain technology is in helping educators achieve certain learning outcomes.

Students complete a wide range of assignments and projects in an online master’s program in education technology. Professors may ask students to create an online course, draft lesson plans that incorporate educational technology, or write a critique of a research study pertaining to education technology. Most online programs require students to participate in online discussion boards as a means of gauging how well you are grasping the material, in addition to taking exams and writing papers. Education technology programs often culminate in a capstone project, in which a student may be asked to work independently or in a group to draft a proposal and in-depth plan for meeting a real-world technological need at an actual school. When writing the plan, students draw from what they have learned from their program course work.

Building a Career

Graduates of master’s programs in education technology can pursue a variety of careers that involve multimedia development, instructional design, training and professional development, curriculum development, or distance learning development. While many find work in higher education and K-12 education settings, others find niche careers in training agencies associated with business, government, the military, and health professions, according to Montana State University Billings. Others become instructional coordinators in school districts.

Instructional coordinators are in charge of a school district’s curriculum and teaching standards. These professionals must have a minimum of a master’s degree, and often must possess teacher certification or school administrator licensure, depending on the state they live in, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Instructional coordinators reported a median yearly salary of $58,830 as of May 2010, the BLS noted. Salaries may vary, however, based on your level of experience, the region of the country you live in, the size of your school district, and other considerations.

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