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 Online Master's Degree 
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Joined: Wed Aug 26, 2009 6:53 pm
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I attended the North Carolina Music Educator's Association "In-Service" Conference in Winston Salem these past few days. One particularly interesting session that is more relevant to non-music professionals was one lead by the staff of the East Carolina School of music faculty. This session was to discuss the logistics of receiving an online master's degree in music education. It is often discussed how online classes/degrees are not the same and quite possibly an inadequate tool for a social profession such as teaching. The presenter's quickly laid this point on the floor and begin to promptly dismiss it. Each year the tools available to us multiply exponentially and school's like ECU are aiming to use this to the advantage of both the faculty and student's. Through tools like "Centra" professors are now able to step away from the idea that online classes are just the sending of material to students followed by the receiving of assignments without any real means of interaction. Centra allows for "live classroom" discussions. Students log into the class and are able to speak to each other via microphones when indicated by the professor. This is an excellent means for active discussion as well as live presentations to your peers. In addition to being able to speak directly to those in your online course, Centra allows for students to give non-verbal feedback to their peers by means of special buttons (f.e. Laughter or applause). Also, there are buttons to specify when a student is "raising their hand" or has stepped out of the classroom. When being used for a presentation, Centra allows for the sharing of applications and the presentation of power points within the "classroom" setting. While this is by no means the same as being in a classroom with a professor, it is making strides towards a more 20th century education. These professors are stepping up to the plate and trying to meet the learners where they are. As future teachers, we must realize that even if we still have major issues with technology, many of our students will know no other way. These type of online degrees, in theory, also allow for a more diverse classroom.. Students from all over the world and from every age group and culture can meet and discuss in an online class. As an added bonus, these kinds of degrees are allowing for teachers who can't afford to quit their job obtain more advanced degrees without having to go to additional classes at a possibly remote university. It may not be perfect, but it's a step in the right direction; I find it exciting that education is attempting to maintain a current and modern field!

Leslie Wicker

Tue Nov 10, 2009 7:33 pm
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