Even if you do not live in close proximity to a major university, options are available to help sharpen your teaching skills. Check out these distance learning programs offered by universities across the country that can make higher learning more accessible for you.
Florida State University Online Master's Degree Program in Science Education
The science education department at Florida State University is offering a new online distance learning master's degree program in science education. The program is designed for teachers in the early stages of their careers who are already certified and teaching, and it will be aligned with National Board Certification. Students in the program will not be required to attend classes on campus or at other locations, although there may be an annual voluntary meeting. Of particular interest to teachers outside Florida is the available out-of-state tuition waiver, meaning teachers in any state will pay the same tuition and fees as Florida teachers. Information on the program can be found at http://www.fsu.edu/~mse/Programs/Science/onlinemasters.html.
University of Missouri-Columbia's Graduate Programs in Science Education
This program seeks candidates for its master's and Ph.D. programs in science education. It prepares individuals for careers in science teaching and science education research as well as for leadership positions in formal and informal science education. When possible, the university supports graduate students with teaching and research assistantships and tuition wavers. Some courses are available online. See http://www.swbsec.missouri.edu/ for more details.
Montana State University's Masters of Science in Science Education
Montana State’s Masters of Science in Science Education is an intercollege, interdisciplinary program featuring many distance learning courses. Curriculum includes core courses and interdisciplinary combinations of biology, chemistry, earth science, plant sciences, microbiology, physics, and other sciences. Applicants typically have a science- or education-related bachelor's degree and two years teaching experience. A candidate may also apply as a non-degree graduate student. Visit http://www.montana.edu/msse/ for more information.
Mississippi State University's Teachers In Geosciences Program
This M.S. degree program, offered via distance learning, is the Teachers In Geosciences (TIG) program. Successful completion of the two-year curriculum provides teachers with a detailed knowledge of the earth sciences and assists them in obtaining the “highly qualified” status required by the NCLB Act by 2005. Each course contains lectures by Geoscience faculty on DVD relevant to teachers of all grades. All course materials other than the DVDs and textbooks are on the Internet. No prerequisites (other than a Bachelor's Degree) are required to take the courses. Students work at their own pace, and assistance from faculty is always available. The only time required away from home is for the Field Methods II class, the capstone course in which students spend 8-10 days in the field with instructors. The program is fully accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS). For more details, access http://www.msstate.edu/dept/geosciences/distance.html.
Try Science Online Graduate Courses
Try Science is a three-credit course that introduces the principles of inquiry-based science to elementary and middle school educators. Developed in collaboration with TERC and with funding from the U.S. Department of Education Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education, Try Science is the first of the online science classes that form the core of a M.Ed. in Science Education at Lesley University. Through a combination of online learning and participation in study groups of two to five people, educators learn by inquiry as preparation for teaching by inquiry. To learn more, go to http://www.lesley.edu/soe/science/.
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