The COVID-19 pandemic significantly impacted educators across the world. With its call for rapid adjustments, the way of learning has been restructured in our districts, schools, and universities. Educators are still trying to rise to the challenge—modifying lessons, learning new technologies, and finding inventive ways to ensure student success despite numerous obstacles.
Vaccines are slow to be given and the hope of a school year without masks or social distancing is pushed further into the future. Will adaptations formed out of emergency become transformational solutions? The picture is far from clear regarding the future and the face of the 21st-century classroom. Their 2020 State of Technology in Education report found that the majority of teachers and administrators (82%) see technology-enhanced learning as an area of heavy emphasis in the coming decade. Hybrid, virtual blended, and online instruction are becoming the new “normal”.
With these report findings, Southern Wesleyan University’s School of Education is placing a renewed focus on leveraging existing technology and teacher training at the undergraduate and graduate, while also retooling fundamental teaching concepts like seat time and core instruction. With the needs of future teachers and veteran teachers in mind, the School of Education has revised its undergraduate and graduate degree programs to train educators in the fundamentals of virtual learning. These pedagogical innovations for training teachers have the potential to restructure many of the outdated expectations we have about education, and offer opportunities for our students that will ensure their success and career readiness as digital educators.
Southern Wesleyan University (SWU) is responding to this changing environment by offering a 36-hour online Masters of Education (MED) with a new specialization in Virtual Teaching. Embedded within this program are four courses that lead to a microcredential in Virtual Teaching. The microcredential is also recognized in South Carolina as an endorsement in online teaching. The program combines relevant educational theories, instructional strategies, and hands-on exploration of digital learning approaches. The coursework prepares you for success regardless of the teaching environment, leveraging technology-enhanced approaches driven by evidence-based practices.
“This specialization recognizes that digital learning has a critical role in our classrooms – whether that is in a fully-online virtual setting or utilizing technology effectively in face-to-face settings,” said Program Coordinator Dr. Tyler Watts. “We want to empower educators to leverage those tools and skills in ways that promote engaged learning.” Students may also choose to take the four courses outside of the Master’s program, leading to a graduate certificate in Instructional Design which also counts toward the state endorsement in online teaching.
Additionally, SWU offers undergraduate degrees in Early Childhood Education, Elementary Education, Music Education, Physical Education, and Special Education that prepare digital educators. Click here for details about Undergraduate Education degree programs.
Southern Wesleyan University is a Christ-centered, student-focused learning community devoted to transforming lives by challenging students to be dedicated scholars and servant-leaders who impact the world for Christ. Click here for details about online Master degree programs.