The College of Education and Organizational Leadership is launching its first online masters program. WASC has given approval to admit students into the Child Development Master of Science Program. This is the first program at the University of La Verne to offer semester-based courses to on-campus students in a fully online framework. Students who are enrolled in the program will have the option of taking each course either in the current face-to-face format or online.
The courses have already been redesigned for online delivery and some have been offered in previous semesters. Here is what students say about the experience: “Online classes are as interactive and challenging as classes taken on campus. The professor is always accessible and always helpful. You become a close knit online family learning from each other and the professor.”
The Child Development Master of Science Program prepares professionals to be leaders in the Early Childhood Community. Students who graduate from the program become administrators, teachers, curriculum experts and coordinators, program quality assurance coordinators, and community college instructors. New regulations in Early Childhood Education have increased the need for professionals who work with young children to receive more education in child development. For example, the National Head Start Association has begun requiring all Head Start teachers to earn a Bachelor’s Degree in Child Development or a related field.
Adding an online version of the Child Development Master of Science Program will allow more students to meet increasing needs and requirements for child development knowledge, while still engaging in busy life schedules. Given the 24/7 online environment, students can work on projects and requirements at times that fit their lifestyle. Both professors and students have reported the educational and time benefits provided by the online classroom.
Faculty members are really positive about the online experience. Dr. Barbara Nicoll, Chairperson, Child Development Master of Science Program says, “I am increasingly amazed at the quality of personal interactions we can maintain in an online framework. When I first began, I had no idea that I would become so convinced that an online experience could be superior to a face-to-face experience. But, it is possible, when instructors are dedicated to creating a community of online learners in each class!”
Dr. Lisa Looney, new Assistant Professor, says of her online experiences, “An online learning environment is boundless. Opportunities to learn material, engage in meaningful discussions, and develop as a professional exist online just as much (if not more) than in a face-to-face experience. The flexibility of the online environment allows students to work on material when it is most convenient for them, while still creating meaningful relationships with professors and other students—which is a productive and exciting way to learn!”