Online Master’s program for College of Education climbs in national rankings
Online graduate education is on the rise across the country, but dominates at MSU.
The College of Education online graduate program has risen upward in the past four years. According to the 2017 U.S. News and World Report, MSU’s College of Education online graduate program ranked No. 8 out of the top 10. This ranking is up from No. 11 in 2016 and from No. 23 in 2013.
With a shift to online courses in recent years, students are participating in further education at the convenience of their laptop, rather than traditional face-to-face classes.
Leigh Wolf, an academic specialist in the dean’s office of the MSU College of Education and associate professor in the Educational Technology online program, said she believes the relationship between faculty and students has been relevant in the consistent shift.
“I think that one of the key factors is the relationship between our faculty and our students, both of their constant drives to innovate and stay engaged in the online learning space,” Wolf said.
The difference between online programs and face-to-face teaching is critical and online education has proven successful through the past four years because of affordances, Wolf said.
“The online environment allows for a level of discourse and feedback that isn't as easily captured in a face-to-face format,” Wolf said. “The affordances of the digital piece of the technology allow for conversations to be captured, reviewed and texted-based conversations to go back and forth.”
The U.S News and World Report ranks the top online master’s in education degree programs based on factors such as accreditation, admissions selectivity, academic and career support services offered to students, according to the website.
John Dirkx, director of the college's online Master of Arts in Education, MAED, program and a professor, credited the constant shift to the amount of time the faculty engage with the students and be there to offer support.
“I think our online programs have considerable support for students and considerable student engagement,” Dirkx said. “I think by in large, most of the faculty that teach in our online programs are able to to provide that effective engagement with students.”
For MSU online master’s programs, not only has the College of Education risen in national ranks — The College of Criminal Justice, Eli Broad College of Business and College of Nursing all have seen promising shifts in their respective categories.
“The ratings of the online programs are reflected to some degree of high esteem that the college is held with in regard to other Colleges of Education around the country,” Dirkx said.