UM addresses educational technology needs with new master’s degree

Published 4:30pm Tuesday, June 24, 2014

By Suzanne Ozment / Guest Columnist

The University of Montevallo seeks to offer degree programs that fall within its mission as a public liberal arts university and that meet identified regional and national needs. As the use of technology in schools and other educational settings continues to grow, there is an increased demand for highly trained individuals who are responsible for technology planning, budgeting, implementation, policy development and training.

In the 21st century, it is no longer sufficient for schools, hospitals and other businesses to rely on self-taught employees to assume the role of technology leaders for their organizations. A new educational specialist degree in instructional technology will be offered by UM’s College of Education beginning in Fall 2014 to address this demand.

UM’s innovative program is designed to meet the requirements of working professionals in a variety of settings, but will focus on preparing technology leaders for P–12 schools and school district offices. Participants will acquire the advanced knowledge and ability to integrate technology into the pre-kindergarten through high school curriculum. The program of study will include courses on characteristics of 21st-century learners, technology tools, mobile technologies, support for collaborative learning online, legal and ethical uses of technology and strategies for teaching effectively in the information age.

The Ed.S. in instructional technology will be relevant for prospective and practicing instructional leaders, teachers, instructional designers, multimedia specialists and training developers and directors in schools, businesses, industries, government agencies or other settings where professional development and lifelong learning take place. Assignments will allow degree candidates to apply what they are studying. They will identify targeted areas of needed improvement within the school, district or organization in which they work. Then, using a variety of applied methodologies, they will conduct research and present ways their findings can be used to improve student comprehension, customer service and educational delivery.

The University of Montevallo is well positioned to offer the Ed.S. in instructional technology. The two faculty members assigned to the new program hold doctoral degrees in instructional technology and have 12 years of combined experience as technology specialists in local school districts. Both are members of the International Society for Technology in Education and the Alabama Educational Technology Association, and both actively serve as professional consultants to schools and school districts.

The degree will be delivered entirely online and may be completed in five or six academic terms. To be eligible to enroll in this advanced degree program, an individual must hold a master’s degree; the discipline in which the master’s was earned does not matter. For more information regarding the degree program contact the Office of the Dean in the College of Education at 665-6360 or the Office of Graduate Admissions and Records at 665-6350.

Dr. Suzanne Ozment is the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs at the University of Montevallo.

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