M.Ed. in Curriculum & Instruction: Online Teaching and Learning

 

Concordia University – Portland’s fully online M.Ed. Curriculum and Instruction Online Teaching and Learning concentration program is designed for K-Adult teachers who want the skills and knowledge to become transformative online educators. Through successful completion of the program – including learning specific online instructional strategies, assessment, learning technologies and tools, ethics –candidates will gain a deeper understanding of online education theories, research, trends, and issues. Each course includes learning activities that provide experience using asynchronous and synchronous online educational technology and collaboration tools such as Wikis and Google docs, as well as synchronous communication tools.

The Next Cohort Start Date is May 10th

M.Ed. in Curriculum & Instruction: Online Teaching and Learning Program Goals

All courses in this concentration are designed based on iNACOL (International Association for K-12 Online Learning) recommendations and standards. In addition to meeting the objectives for all Concordia University - Portland M.Ed. programs, successful candidates in the M.Ed. in Curriculum & Instruction: Online Teaching and Learning concentration will:

  • Apply best practices and strategies in online teaching and learning
  • Explore and analyze best practices and strategies in online assessment
  • Assess, analyze, and evaluate social, legal, and ethical issues in online teaching and learning
  • Evaluate how to apply practices and strategies for facilitating transformative learning online
 

Course Descriptions

Students enrolled in the Online Teaching and Learning program must complete:

  • Four core courses required for the Curriculum & Instruction degree
  • Foundation courses for the specific concentration

M.Ed. in Curriculum & Instruction - Online Teaching and Learning
15 credits
EDCI 535 (3)
Transformative Teaching and Learning in Online Education
Transformative learning involves changing perspective or frames of reference (King, 2002). The online education environment is conducive to transformative learning in various ways. This course provides an overview of transformative learning theory and concepts in the online teaching environment. Candidates will explore a model of teaching for online education that regards the learners as being actively engaged through critical reflection and discourse to question assumptions, expectations, and context. The course emphasizes a close examination of the role of the online instructor as facilitator who builds an open environment for meaningful dialogue and reflection. Candidates will be challenged to evaluate how to apply key elements of transformative learning to their online teaching.
EDCI 588 (3)
Ethical and Social Issues for Online Teachers
This course addresses the social and legal issues challenging the online teacher. The social issues will focus on the history of educational movements, history of distance education and will explore the culture of the online course room, issues of academic integrity, the business of online education, and distance education as an agent of change. The legal issues addressed in the course will include copyright, e-mail privacy, and access and security issues. The common goal of the various forms of distance education has been to provide educational opportunities to people unable to participate in traditional learning institutions. Educators must be aware of the new challenges and social and legal issues inherent in distance education if they are to become participants in and advocates for distance education.
EDCI 532 (3)
Instructional Strategies for the Online Classroom
This course focuses on specific actions that online instructors can take to be more effective and better serve their learning populations. While there are many differences between traditional, face-to-face classroom teaching and teaching online, there are just as many similarities-solid instructional practices that have been applied and tested over time are effective in a variety of learning settings.

This course encourages active reflection on teaching practices that address a broad range of instructional issues:

  • How to create and foster an online community of practice
  • Ways to establish clear expectations
  • The importance of tone and feedback as it relates to student motivation
  • Methods to enhance online communication
  • Strategies for managing time, work, and students
  • Ways to address diverse learners
  • Tools for grading and assessment (formative and summative)
  • Approaches to encourage reflection and higher order (critical)thinking skills
  • The need for ongoing professional development and collaboration with colleagues
EDCI 552 (3)
Assessment for Online Learning
This course addresses the quality online program evaluation as outlined by accreditation procedures and standards. The focus of this course will be the use of evaluation to assure quality programs at all levels of school operation. As online schools and programs become ever more the norm in the educational community it becomes increasingly important that every aspect of a learning organization - individuals, classrooms, schools, the district, and the community - be dedicated to continual analysis, assessment, and reflection on system practices (Costa and Kallick,1995). Students who are interested in any aspect of online schooling should be familiar with standards and methods of measurement essential in providing a quality online learning experience.
EDGR 601 (3)
Educational Research
This course provides students with the basic competencies necessary to understand and evaluate the research of others, and to plan and conduct their own research with a minimum of assistance. This course includes the basics of both qualitative and quantitative research.

The Master of Education culminates with one of two courses
3 credits
EDGR 698 (3)
Action Research (CAPSTONE)
Action research is one of the capstone projects for the Master of Education program. During this five-week course, candidates will learn more about the action research methodology, complete final edits of the Literature Review, and design a complete Action Research proposal including data collection methods and analysis approaches. The proposal will not be implemented with students/participants during the course.
Prerequisite: Successful completion of EDGR 601 Educational Research.
EDGR 699 (3)
Thesis (CAPSTONE)
The Thesis offers the graduate student the opportunity to investigate, in depth, a topic in the field of education. The student, working with his or her educational research instructor, will explore relevant literature and present a Thesis following the procedure established by the College of Education.
Prerequisite: Successful completion of EDGR 601 Educational Research.

Either option provides candidates with an understanding of the role of research in the field of education as a tool to solve problems and as a way to improve student learning.

Earning Your Curriculum & Instruction: Online Teaching and Learning Master's Degree Online

The Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction: Online Teaching and Learning program is fully online. The online format uses cutting-edge curriculum and easy-to-use online learning tools to provide students with a convenient yet challenging educational experience. Online classes are 5 weeks in length and can be accessed via Internet.

 

Career Opportunities

  • Director of Online School(s) or Program(s)
  • Online Curriculum Developer/Writer
  • K-12 Teacher with Online Education Specialty
  • Higher Education Instructor: Online Teaching and Learning
  • Consultant: Online Teaching and Learning
  • Professional Development, Online Teaching and Learning
  • Lead Teacher, Online Teaching and Learning (K-12)
  • Program Director, Online Teaching and Learning
  • Educational Technology in Education Instructor: K-12, Higher Education
  • Supervisor, Online Education: K-12
  • Division or Department Chair, Online Education
  • Sales Representative, Technology in Education: Education Publisher
  • Program Director, eLearning/Technology Education
  • Supervisor, Educational Technology Team: K-12
  • Division or Department Chair, eLearning/Technology Education
  • Sales Representative, Technology in Education: Education Publisher

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Student Spotlights

Lynda Bradford

M.Ed. in Curriculum & Instruction: eLearning / Technology Education

Lynda Bradford earned her M.Ed. in Curriculum & Instruction from Concordia University - Portland, in part, to transition from the business community into the education realm. The eLearning and Technology Education concentration was the former name of the Online Teaching and Learning program.

Why was getting a master's degree about online teaching and learning important to you?

This degree was important for me to achieve because I want to understand all there is to know and learn about teaching in an online environment so I can one day teach others remotely from anywhere in the world. I work now with a program called 100 Year Starship that explores how mankind will accomplish interstellar exploration of our nearest star within the next 100 years. Given the time it will take to travel to our closest star with current technology — approximately 77,000 years — online education will certainly play an integral role in educating the generations of interstellar explorers needed to accomplish this goal.

What did you like best about the master's program as a whole?

I especially enjoyed learning about the different types of technological programs available to support online education. I really enjoyed creating my own online course and experiencing all the development and research that went into making it happen. I enjoyed seeing curriculum I developed displayed in an engaging online format that helped others to learn. I enjoyed the different learning modalities, character development in the classroom, and how to respect differences and engage culturally diverse students. I enjoyed everything a lot!

What did you like best about the online teaching and learning program?

I enjoyed working and learning online and getting first-hand experience of how I will one day interact with my own students. It was interesting to experience the different styles of my instructors in an online format. Each brought unique styles and methodologies to the classroom that I hope to one day successfully emulate and incorporate into my online classroom. I sincerely enjoyed all aspects of the online teaching and learning program experience.

Have you already used what you learned in the online master's program?

I haven’t specifically used aspects from the program yet. But simply having the degree designation has gotten the attention of many prospective employers.

What are your professional goals? Are these goals part of the reason you pursued a master’s degree?

I want to transition from the business arena into education. I pursued a master’s degree in education to help facilitate my transition and to broaden my educational background. I want to couple my business background with education and teach adult learners. I want to make a difference in the lives of those that I teach.

What advice would you give current online M.Ed. students, or to people thinking of pursuing an online M.Ed. from Concordia Portland?

I encourage those from any discipline seeking an M.Ed. to not worry or feel challenged that they may not have the background to “fit in” amongst a classroom of educators. The instructors at Concordia Portland know how to work with non-education students and help them incorporate their background and experiences into the curriculum. They help you to understand that you bring broader perspective to discussions and differing points of view.

What advice would you give a prospective online Concordia Portland M.Ed. student in the online teaching concentration?

Make sure you allocate enough time to complete all the work and different tasks, and commit fully to dedicating a year without a lot of distractions to accomplish your higher-education goal. Engage in the discussions meaningfully and don’t view them simply as tasks. I found the discussion board to be where rote memorization from required readings were explored, challenged, defended, and finally formed into the heart of my online learning experience.

Can you describe the highlights of a class, faculty member, or project you worked on during the Concordia Portland M.Ed. program?

There were many moments throughout my classes that were highlights. I was especially proud to have one of my instructors ask to use my online course as a model going forward for her other classes. I worked hard and produced what I thought was a meaningful and engaging online learning experience, and it was wonderful to have my instructor validate my efforts. I knew from that moment forward that online education was something that I was destined to do.

Wendy Dwyer

M.Ed. in Curriculum & Instruction: eLearning / Technology Education

Wendy Dwyer earned her M.Ed. in Curriculum & Instruction from Concordia University - Portland. She currently is using the knowledge and expertise she gained from the program to teach at a state college in Florida. The eLearning and Technology Education concentration was the former name of the Online Teaching and Learning program.

Why was getting a master’s about online teaching and learning important to you?

I work at a college that is very progressive and forward-thinking, and many of our course offerings are being offered in an online environment. As a relatively new instructor, I try hard to make my classes reflect the current technology that my students are using. And because I want to be the best instructor possible, I wanted the chance to learn about the newest and most useful tools available to me.

Not only did I have the chance to try out new and emerging technologies, programs, and tools in an atmosphere that allowed questions and exploration, I had a chance to experience them through the eyes of my cohorts, too, many of whom were seasoned educators. It gave me a chance to learn firsthand and through others.

What did you like best about the master's degree program as a whole?

I liked the flexibility, setup, and hands-on service I received from Concordia Portland.

What did you like best about the online teaching and learning program specifically?

I loved the short intensity of the classes. Because they were intense and brief, it gave me a chance to work with each new piece of information or learning objective continuously and directly, with no down-time in between, as in other classes. I enjoyed having a chance to try out new programs and Internet tools, and I felt that it was a chance for me to build my toolbox and prepare me for being a better and more well-rounded teacher.

Have you already used what you learned in the online master's program?

I have used what I learned in the master's program already. I have used a couple of the instructional videos I created in my current classes, and I was surprised and delighted to learn that, because of my concentration in eLearning and Technology, my employer is interested in having me teach others how to access and use some of the tremendous skills I learned through the program.

When I started, I was nervous that I might be hanging my hopes on a star and testing the waters in a type of teaching that might be a trend or flash in the pan. What I found instead was a real reinforcement of the foundations of teaching and how they must be included in the online learning environment. It has made me a stronger, more confident instructor.

What are your professional goals? Are these goals part of the reason you pursued a master’s degree?

I teach at a state college in Florida, and I plan to continue teaching. My goal was to be able to enhance my skills and increase the number of subjects I could teach well. I plan to continue doing so because of the start at Concordia.

What advice would you give current online M.Ed. students, or to people thinking of pursuing an online M.Ed. from Concordia Portland?

Be disciplined. Be serious. Be inspired. You’ll need all three, plus some good time-management skills, to succeed, but it is so worth the time, investment, and effort.

Can you describe the highlights of a class, faculty member, or project you worked on during the Concordia Portland M.Ed. program?

One of the highlights was the faculty members. I loved the positive, genuinely thoughtful discussions and questions raised by faculty and other cohorts. I was also really surprised and happy about the personal feel of the class. Because the class sizes were limited, I felt like I really did get personal attention in eight of the 10 classes. And when I had a serious personal issue — a death in the family, I was really pleased by the way my instructors immediately offered to accommodate my crisis needs. I chose to work through and complete my work on time, but I think simply knowing that my professor was willing to accommodate me gave me the incentive and comfort to complete the work despite difficult and unforeseen circumstances.

Paige Garwood

M.Ed. in Curriculum & Instruction: eLearning / Technology Education

Paige Garwood earned his M.Ed. in Curriculum & Instruction from Concordia University - Portland in the summer of 2013 and currently teaches music to homeschool students in Atlanta. The eLearning and Technology Education concentration was the former name of the Online Teaching and Learning program.

Why was getting a degree in online learning important to you?

In 2001, I was laid off from a lucrative job designing LAN/WAN networks for a satellite company. The industry went into a tailspin, due to the 9/11 tragedy, and there was next to no chance that I would get a job in that industry soon. I started teaching guitar at a local music store, getting homeschool students during the day and public school students in the late afternoon.

"... the area of eLearning fits perfectly in my vision for my teaching life moving forward."

By 2004, I was teaching at two academies, teaching guitar, bass and music theory. I have an extensive background as a performer, but no degree in education or music. I’m a graduate of the Armed Forces School of Music (now the Naval School of Music). It’s a prestigious music school, but it bestows no degree.

How did your experience and aspirations for teaching music to homeschool students motivate you to pursue an M.Ed. from Concordia Portland?

The homeschool movement really gained traction between 2000 and 2010 in Georgia. One of the homeschool academies I teach at now has 900 to 1,000 students every Tuesday. As more of the smaller co-ops grew into solid one- or two-day-a-week academies, they sought accreditation.

One of the requirements in the accreditation process was having degreed teachers. I am seeing a portion of the homeschool world migrating to a university model of education — sort of like a multi-campus private school world.

"And this new environment was embracing the Internet—anything I was going to do in the future was going to involve online activity."

In this new movement, I could see that my having a degree could become very important in getting a job in this emerging educational environment. And this new environment was embracing the Internet — anything I was going to do in the future was going to involve online activity. That is why the M.Ed. was important.

The master’s degree from Concordia Portland carries some “street creds” in that it is a postgraduate degree from a known institution. The fact that it is in the area of eLearning fits perfectly in my vision for my teaching life moving forward. I want to develop an online music education environment aimed at the homeschooling world. The decision to get this degree from Concordia was a no-brainer. It was the easiest decision I have ever made.

What did you like best about the online M.Ed. program as a whole?

My fellow students. In my bachelor’s program (at another institution), there was incredible drama and unprofessional attitudes among many of the students. In my master’s program with Concordia, I was always surrounded by students who were like me — teaching professionals. And they represented so many areas of expertise. I was almost always getting involved in some fascinating discussions with my cohorts.

As a teacher in the homeschool community, I brought some new angles into many discussions because I was the only representative of the homeschool community in my cohort. The discussions were always fascinating, and I was honored by the respect the other classmates gave me. Homeschool advocates don’t always get this kind of respect from their public and private school peers.

Have you already used what you learned about online teaching and learning?

I have already started three online music theory classes for one academy. Another academy will offer my online courses as well. I have been approached about designing a flipped classroom environment for teaching a history class.

What are your professional goals? Are these goals part of the reason you pursued a master’s degree?

I want to develop a full-blown music education online experience for the homeschooled world. The degree is important, not so much for the folks in Atlanta who know and trust me, but more for those I want to reach via the Internet who don’t know me. A respected degree from a respected institution is very important, in my opinion. Those little initials — M.Ed. — carry weight.

What advice would you give current online M.Ed. students, or to people thinking of pursuing an online M.Ed. from Concordia Portland?

At the beginning of my master’s program, I decided that I was going to find a way to bring the focus of every course I took into the world I was living and teaching in. Every assignment, every discussion would be focused (as much as possible) on my homeschool world. I worked very hard at relating every discussion and assignment to some aspect of what was relevant to me.

"Make the master's program a working part of your life... Ask questions, challenge ideas, and make the teachers teach you. Trust me--they do not mind."

My master’s thesis was built around the history of the homeschool world and why the homeschool world deserves a seat at the discussion concerning education reform. For that reason, the master’s program was not an additional thing in my busy life as a teacher, but became, instead, a vital part of my homeschooling teaching world. Assignments became part of my current lesson plans, and found their way into my classroom discussions. So I recommend making the master’s program a working part of your life, not an additional task to be completed in addition to what you are already doing.

What advice would you give a prospective online Concordia Portland M.Ed. student in the online teaching concentration?

Do not do just the minimum. Treat the program and the process with the respect it deserves. The Internet is our future — so throw yourself into this program. Ask questions, challenge ideas — make the teachers teach you. Trust me, they do not mind. For most of us, this is the highest level of education we will get. Doesn’t that thought compel you to make this last year of your education feel more important? A master’s degree is huge. Honor it with your best work.

Can you describe the highlights of a class, faculty member, or project you worked on during the Concordia Portland M.Ed. program?

I intended to do a project instead of the thesis, but I totally miscalculated when my program would finish. I was going to use one of my classes in the fall and its students for my project. But my program finished during the summer, not the fall. I found myself in the summer months with no opportunity to do a research project and found myself having to write a thesis. It was the most nerve-wracking, gut-wrenching thing I have ever done. As tense as those last weeks were, the process of writing and gathering my thoughts and discussing something I am passionate about proved to be a huge blessing to me, and in the end, one of the most valuable experiences of my academic sojourn.

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