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Georgia ONmyLINE: The Development and Implementation of an Online, Alternative Certification Program in Special Education Kelly Heckaman, Karla Hull, James Ernest, & Shirley Thompson Valdosta State University Shifting trends in certification CEC focus on ‘General’ and ‘Adapted’ Certification

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Georgia ONmyLINE: The Development and Implementation of an Online, Alternative Certification Program in Special Education

Kelly Heckaman, Karla Hull,

James Ernest, & Shirley Thompson

Valdosta State University

Pathways to Teaching Conference March 2010

slide2

Shifting trends in certification

    • CEC focus on ‘General’ and ‘Adapted’ Certification
    • Low enrollment, esp. for face-to-face niche degrees
  • VSU is located in a rural area
  • Faculty experience in development of distance education / fully online courses
  • Empirical reasons to move to a fully online program?

Brief History

Pathways to Teaching Conference March 2010

research in support of online programs
Research in Support of Online Programs
  • Research supports distance education courses as being at least as effective as traditional courses (Parry, 2009)
  • Recent meta-analysis of K-12 education indicated that students who took part in hybrid or fully online education outperformed students who received instruction in the traditional face-to-face method (U.S. Department of Education, 2009)

Pathways to Teaching Conference March 2010

designing a quality program
Designing a Quality Program

Prior Scholarship

Collins et al. (2002)

  • Quality involves more than requiring teacher candidates to respond to questions about the assigned readings and/or engaging in threaded discussions

Professional Wisdom

From Faculty’s prior experiences, we knew we wanted to

    • Focus on active participation
    • Use applied experiential learning

Cognizant of

    • organization and presentation of the materials,
    • the course content and format, and the
    • opportunities for interaction with the instructor and classmates

Pathways to Teaching Conference March 2010

the early years
The Early Years
  • In 2003-2004 initiated conversations about a fully online alternate certification masters degree for special education (general and adapted curriculum)
  • In 2005, first students enrolled in an M.Ed. degree with initial certification for Georgia
  • In 2007, started conversations about GOML

Pathways to Teaching Conference March 2010

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New model for development and delivery of online programs

    • Competitive Application Process (2007)
    • Loan to develop programs ($50,000-100,000)
    • Quick Start-Up (approximately 6 months)

Pathways to Teaching Conference March 2010

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Georgia’s Board of Regents created the Georgia ONmyLine (GOML) program

    • cross-university collaboration
    • franchise degree programs

Pathways to Teaching Conference March 2010

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Graduate Education Degrees

  • Master of Education (MED)
    • Accomplished Teaching (Valdosta, Georgia Southern, Columbus)
    • Instructional Technology (Valdosta, Georgia Southern)
    • Middle Grades Math and Science (Valdosta, North Georgia)
    • Reading, Language and Literacy Education (Valdosta, Georgia State, North Georgia)
    • Secondary Math and Science (Georgia State)
  • Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT)
    • Reading, Language and Literacy Education (Valdosta, Georgia State, North Georgia)
    • Special Education (Valdosta, North Georgia)

Pathways to Teaching Conference March 2010

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Valdosta State University has the only GOML program for special education initial certification

    • First students enrolled in Spring 2008
    • Within a year, over 200 students enrolled

Pathways to Teaching Conference March 2010

our program
Our Program
  • TEC are on an alternate pathway to certification
  • Candidates admitted to this program are required to

have a Bachelor’s degree, provide passing scores the

GACE Basic Skills Tests or documentation of

exemption, have a cumulative grade point average of

2.5 or better for all undergraduate and graduate course

work

Pathways to Teaching Conference March 2010

our program14
Our Program
  • Candidates must serve as the teacher for students with

disabilities appropriate for the candidate’s selected area of

certification (i.e., general or adapted curriculum), and hold a nonrenewable nonprofessional (NNT) certificate

  • Candidates must provide documentation of a content

concentration that consists of fifteen semester hours of academic content that conforms with the GAPSC preparation requirements of the content concentrations for middle grades.

Pathways to Teaching Conference March 2010

our program16
Our Program
  • Program faculty have
  • extensive experience
  • developing and teaching
  • online courses
  • Teacher as researcher
  • approach
  • Applied assignments
  • with PK-12 students that
  • focus on student
  • achievement

Pathways to Teaching Conference March 2010

communicoach
CommuniCoach

Pathways to Teaching Conference March 2010

conclusions
Conclusions
  • Necessary for TECs to implement evidence-based practices in a systematic way and receive feedback from:
    • “Knowledgeable” and “Skilled” course instructors (‘how to’ knowledge)
    • The TEC’s students’ achievement
    • Our data (qualitative and quantitative) indicate that our TEC are highly successful in increasing student achievement

Pathways to Teaching Conference March 2010

a letter to the goml coordinator
A Letter to the GOML Coordinator

… I say all this to illustrate true-life examples of the awesome learning/development provided by this program. Most online programs are considered to be out of touch, a cake-walk, or just plain boring. VSU’s GOML program for an MAT in Special Education is so far above these thoughts it should be considered as more than a degree: this is life-training.

… I have never had instruction so direct and specific in any class I have ever taken. It was as if the MAT program was geared towards my personal career and molding ME personally into an experienced teacher.

Pathways to Teaching Conference March 2010

questions
Questions ???

Pathways to Teaching Conference March 2010