March 2, 2012
Learning from the best: Online education program rates among top 10 in nation
A Kansas State University online degree program is being rated as one of the best in the nation for students to master education technology.
GetEducated.com, a website dedicated to comparing and rating online degree programs, has ranked the university's online master of science in curriculum and instruction-digital teaching and learning program in the top 10 for programs of its kind.
The program exposes its students, who range from certified K-12 teachers to administrators with doctorates, to the technology available for enhancing education and course structure. Its focus is to equip them with the skills to effectively integrate that technology into their own curricula.
Rosemary Talab, professor of curriculum and instruction, developed the digital teaching and learning program five years ago. Talab said the top-10 listing is a wonderful distinction.
"I hope the reason that someone thought highly enough of the program is because we work really hard to make sure everybody gets a shot at using technology meaningfully, learns new skills, and learns new theories and approaches constantly," Talab said.
Students in the program receive direction on how to properly utilize diverse technologies in their curriculum, such as social media or programs that allow them to take their own students on virtual field trips. By including these technologies, graduates of the program can increase diversity and interactivity among their students.
"We're building a neural network for the world," Talab said. "Technology can be a wonderful way to connect people."
Talab puts a strong emphasis on academic advising with the program. She says every student deserves to have a clear picture of his or her prospects after graduating, and the quality of a student's academic experience depends on his or her knowledge of the vocational opportunities available.
The introductory meeting on Skype that Talab holds with prospective students gives her the opportunity to align her students' goals with the program's capabilities. It also allows her to assess their goals based on their drive for achievement and job availability.
Talab said she is bothered by the popular notion that online learning is a purely individual effort. She hopes her focus on connecting with her students has contributed to the program's inclusion on GetEducated.com's list.
"I've got people that I've only met face-to-face after they graduate, and I would tell you that I know them as well or better than most people know their students," Talab said. "People ask me, 'How can you have a good experience with online learning?' I say, 'How can you not, if you do it correctly?"
View the digital teaching and learning program's listing on the GetEducated.com top 10 list at http://bit.ly/qOxs1T. For more information on Kansas State University distance education programs, go to http://www.dce.k-state.edu/distance.