Education - Page 6 - Beyond the campus grounds

- Page 6
Beyond the campus grounds
Maryland universities are reaching out to students everywhere

By Carol Sorgen, Contributing Write

Many graduate students are already working professionals, but are looking to enhance their credentials to further their career. With a combination of on the ground, hybrid and online programs, and faculty members who themselves are “rock stars” in their individual fields, students have more opportunities than ever before to further their education.

Salisbury University Doctoral Program Addresses Need for Literacy Educators

Frederick Briggs received both his undergraduate and master’s degree from Salisbury University, so when the school inaugurated its Ed.D. in contemporary curriculum theory and instruction: literacy in 2014, Briggs knew it was the right choice for him. Briggs credits the degree program for his promotion from high school principal to chief academic officer for Wicomico County. Briggs was one of six students from the inaugural cohort to receive his doctorate in this spring.”Without this programI wouldn’t be in my current position,” says Briggs.

“I had been looking for a doctoral program and there was nothing appropriate nearby before Salisbury instituted this degree curriculum,” says Briggs. But it wasn’t just the geographic convenience, combined with the opportunity to take classes both on campus and online, that further convinced Briggs that this was the right choice for him.

“The diverse background of students, the rigor of the classes and the support from the university made the program accessible and doable,” says Briggs. A former math teacher, Briggs notes that the literacy degree makes him a better instructional leader.“Literacy is an important topic, both in school and in the workplace,” he says. “Literacy is tied to everything we do.”

Program Director Judith Franzak, Ph.D., explains that the degree program was established in response to a need expressed by educators in Delmarva and beyond. “Literacy is a critical skill that everyone needs throughout life.”

Goucher Moves Graduate Program Online

Goucher College is moving its innovative Master of Education (M.Ed.) program fully online this fall. The programwill build on the college’s reputation for excellence in its on-ground programs, according to Kathy Doherty, associate provost and executive director for graduate programs and continuing education.

“By moving the program online, we are providing students with easy access and convenience,” Doherty says. “They won’t have to come to campus and they can enter and exit the online classroom at any time.”

In addition, the new eight-week format means that students have the flexibility of completing the degree at their own pace.

“We’ll have the same curriculum, many of the same instructors, and the same academic rigor,” Doherty says, adding that the curriculum meets the standards set by Quality Matters, a national organization that certifies that online and hybrid courses meet a set of 40 specific elements, distributed across eight broad standards that include course overview and introduction, learning objectives, assessment and measurement, resources and materials, learner engagement, course technology, learner support, and accessibility.

Those already enrolled in the program can continue in a hybrid format, while those just beginning will pursue the degree online. Not only does the online format offer access, convenience and flexibility, according to Doherty, but will also provide a richer experience by bringing to Goucher students it otherwise wouldn’t be able to meet.

“We live in an online society,” says Doherty. “We expect ease of access and convenience in everything we do. This is the future of higher education; we’re meeting students where they are and giving them the opportunity to learn on their own time in their own home.”

Doherty observes that online education is every bit as strong as face-to-face classroom time because it forces instructors to reach students in innovative and creative ways, and also teaches students how to work in a virtual environment, which is what today’s workplace is all about. “We’re providing a very rich learning environment,” says Doherty.“It’s the best possible learning experience.”

UMBC’s Adjunct Faculty Brings Real-World Experience to Classroom

As University of Maryland, Baltimore County continues to expand its professional master’s degree programs, it has also increased the number of adjunct faculty who bring their own professional expertise to the classroom.

Tina Williams-Koroma, for example, is a UMBC alumna and founder and president of TCecure, a Maryland-based cybersecurity company. Williams-Koroma, who is also a licensed attorney, has been teaching in the university’s cybersecurity professional program since 2012.

“I like the exchange with the students,” says Williams-Koroma. “Their questions, suggestions and ideas spark a creative exchange and I still get to learn myself.”

Cybersecurity is a multi-disciplinary field and Williams-Koroma says that one of the strengths she believes she brings to the classroom is her experience in keeping an eye on the bigger picture.

“Cybersecurity is a critical field and we’re not creating enough individuals to fill the growing number of positions in the many roles,” she says, observing that cybersecurity is germane and relevant to every infrastructure, from finance to retail to health care and more. “It’s not just lost data we’re talking about, but lost lives,” she says.

Williams-Koroma is just one of UMBC’s adjunct instructors with real-world professional experience that translates to the classroom. According to Gib Mason, chief operating officer and vice president of financing and administration at UMBC Training Centers, these instructors bring “specific and deep knowledge and understanding of their particular field.”

Mason, who also serves as director of the entrepreneurship, innovation, and leadership professional program, adds that the EIL instructors give students the “best of both worlds,” combining an academic foundation with practical experience. “The skills that the students get from such an education set them up to succeed in the workplace,” he says.

“This is not a lecture environment,” Mason continues. “We share as a class. The instructor is just the facilitator and we learn from each other.” •

Salisbury Ed.D. program turns to robotics

While students in the Delmarva area are pleased that Salisbury University’s Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) program is convenient to their home or workplace, the university’s new iBeam Robot is helping reach students in remote locations, enabling the university to expand access to students across the mid-Atlantic. The robot makes it possible for students to be “in class” even from their home or office.

The robot is similar to a tablet on a moveable device. The operator speaks through an application and is seen by viewers on the screen.

The iBeam robot was showcased by students at the Maryland Literacy Conference in Hunt Valley. Using a laptop, attendees were able to manipulate the robot, which was located in a campus seminar room. •

PHOTO DESCRIPTION: Left: Gib Mason, chief operating officer and vice president of financing and administration at UMBC Training Centers, is working with a UMBC student to develop a leadership and communications model for their organization.”