Concordia University Chicago's master of arts in blended and online teaching for pK-12 educators is designed exclusively to prepare practicing K-12 educators for instruction in blended and online environments.
Be able to articulate the pedagogical underpinnings of online education and develop instructional strategies appropriate to the online student.
Think creatively and critically of ways in which online education can serve to meet the learning needs of students.
Master a variety of technology skills using current information, communication, and learning technologies.
Develop instructional and assessment strategies using research based data-driven decision making to inform instruction.
Envision emerging technology trends and their application in teaching and learning.
Career and Industry Outlook
Over the past decade, online and blended learning opportunities in higher education have increased dramatically. The 2012 Survey of Online Learning Survey conducted by the Babson Survey Research Group reveals that:
• Over 6.7 million students were taking at least one online course during the fall 2011 term, an increase of 570,000 students over the previous year.
• Thirty-two percent of higher education students now take at least one course online.
Growth in online and blended education is not unique to higher education. Online and blended learning enrollments have also been growing in pK-12 education. Currently, there are more students taking online and blended courses than ever before in K-12 education. It is estimated by the Keeping Pace with K-12 Online and Blended Learning Study (2012) that there are “likely several million or slightly more than 5% of the total K-12 population across the United States enrolled in online and hybrid education.”
This growth in K-12 online and blended enrollment is very likely to continue. Five states: Tennessee, Florida, Michigan, Idaho, and Alabama have adopted legislation that requires their high school students to have an online learning experience prior to graduation. This appears to be an indicator of a dramatic shift in perspective of online education from a tool to serve a defined population of students (such as those with special needs) to a broader recognition of the importance of learning how to learn online for all students in preparation for higher education and the workplace.
Along with the growing need to provide more and more online and blended options comes the need for professional development for teachers. Currently, Idaho and Georgia have established state endorsement requirements for certified teachers to teach online in order to ensure quality online and hybrid instruction.
The National Education Association (NEA) also recognizes this need for professional development and states in their 2010–11 Handbook’s Policy Statement Regarding Distance Education Section A, 7 (b) that
"Although licensure in the subject matter being taught is a necessary condition for any teacher, it is not a sufficient condition for a teacher involved in distance education. Teachers who provide distance education should in addition be skilled in learning theories, technologies, and teaching pedagogies appropriate for the online environment. Moreover, because of the rapidly changing technology, these skills should be continuously updated through professional development." (p.417–418)