5 Myths About Earning a Master of Education Online
It’s no surprise that online education has become extremely popular in recent years. In 2014, more than 5.7 million students were enrolled in online education, and that number has continued to soar.
The appeal is obvious—flexibility and convenience—especially for working professionals like teachers. You can earn your MEd from anywhere in the world, on your own time, and at your own pace. But despite the growing popularity of online degrees, there are still some myths, or hesitations, about it.
If you’re considering studying in a virtual environment, it’s important to know the truth, and as the team behind 21 online MEd program options, we’re here to help. Let’s debunk those myths.
Myth No. 1: Online degrees aren’t respected.
The question of whether an online degree is as legitimate as a traditional degree isn’t a new one. But the next-generation learning provided by an online degree is not only accepted, but respected.
Susan Fontana, the former regional vice president of Manpower, a global recruiting firm, said in a Daily News interview that perceptions of online education have changed over the past decade because of the growth in technology. It’s made accessing education easier and more flexible for full-time employees—and employers notice that. Many admire students who juggle work, a personal life, and earning an advanced degree at the same time.
“When you think about balancing a job and the needs of a family with school, that says a lot about the discipline of a person,” Fontana said.
While she was referring to online bachelor’s degrees, there’s no reason it wouldn’t apply to graduate school—when personal obligations may be even more time-consuming.
Just one caveat: be sure that the particular online program you’re interested in is a respectable one, as not all are created equal. Look for proof: at Concordia, for example, we can say that principals call our MEd program director often looking for job candidates.
Myth No. 2: An online MEd isn’t practical for my busy life.
You have a full plate. You’re dedicated to your students 25 hours a day, 8 days a week, 366 days a year. On top of that, you have personal and community obligations. On top of that, you have to make sure you take time for yourself. So how do you add an advanced degree to all of this?
By finding an online MEd program that is tailored to your life and your schedule. Choose a program that offers one class at a time, built-in breaks, and an asynchronous setting—which means students can log in at any time day (as opposed to having an 8 p.m. class every night). You pop in during your free period, check your grades between classes, or do your own homework after grading others before you go to bed. It’s up to you.
And even with this degree of flexibility, many students earn their MEd in just one year (including at Concordia University-Portland).
Myth No. 3: An online MEd isn’t rigorous enough.
With the right program, it’s not any easier to earn a degree online than at a physical campus.
Online faculty and course curricula have to undergo a thorough review and accreditation process to make sure they meet the highest academic standards in the field, just as they would on campus.
And for a Master of Education especially, you should expect to be taught by principals, other teachers, administrators—all professionals who work in a field where holding someone accountable for their work and teaching from an engaging, high-quality curriculum are daily responsibilities.
Want to know how rigorous the program you’re interested is? Ask who the professors are. Look at the course descriptions. Find out if what you learn today, you can apply in your classroom tomorrow.
Myth No. 4: Online students are disconnected from their professors and fellow classmates.
Just because you’re not in the same physical space as your professors and classmates doesn’t mean you aren’t connected. In fact, you may be surprised—again, if you choose a great program—that the interaction is even more personal.
Our MEd students work together on collaborative projects, email each other outside of class, and share ideas with each other on social platforms. Many have even met in person when they traveled to our campus in Portland for commencement, or studied abroad together.
As for professors: excellent ones will make sure you connect. Your professor may be teaching an online course solely because he or she wants to work with people across the globe. Our faculty make it a point to give feedback along with their grades, to reach out to struggling students, to chat with anyone who wants further inspiration or guidance.
Myth No. 5: It’s too hard for people who aren’t great with technology.
Not true! Many online programs employ user-friendly tools, (like BlackBoard, which Concordia uses), and may have someone who can help you navigate the sections. We often walk students through the platform on or before their first day of class, so they feel completely comfortable accessing their courses, assignments, resources, and more.
You can do this!