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New groundbreaking online M.Ed. exceeding student expectations

August 11, 2016
Merrimack College’s new online Master of Education (M. Ed.) degree has exceeded expectations by providing working professionals with a groundbreaking program that is aligned with employers’ needs and Massachusetts teaching standards. This innovative teacher preparation program offers a next-generation online learning experience designed to help teachers master skills that are most valued by school employers. The program launched with its first cohort of students in January 2016.

Merrimack’s online M.Ed. is a competency-based teacher education program closely aligned with the Massachusetts Professional Standards for Teachers and Subject Matter Knowledge requirements. The competency-based learning model empowers students to move quickly through the material they already know by demonstrating mastery of skills and knowledge, allowing them to focus on learning the skills and subject matter they need most.

“Merrimack College is committed to providing a high quality education to all students, be it on-campus or online,” said Dean Isabelle Cherney. “For busy working adult learners, our online education programs offer a unique opportunity to earn their master’s in education in a flexible, yet engaging and efficient way. The online delivery of our programs meets the needs of working adults who are teachers, and educators.”

Students are able to earn their M.Ed. and gain endorsement that allows them to seek their Initial License in three concentrations: Elementary Education (Grades 1-6), Moderate Disabilities (Pre-K-8), and English as a Second Language (Pre-K-6). Merrimack works closely with students in the online M.Ed. to help them identify the best placements for their field-based experiences. Students are also able to complete coursework that can lead to an additional license (add-on license) in Moderate Disabilities (Pre-K-8). In addition, students can gain a M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction (a master’s degree typically not associated with licensure), a highly personalized program that allows students to gain exposure to current topics in special education, English language learners, and leadership. Finally, online M.Ed. courses can be taken a la carte by those non-degree students seeking additional graduate credits for use in Master’s Plus programs.

Suzette DiTonno, M.Ed., Ed. S., a third grade teacher at Pentucket Lake Elementary, is enrolled in the online Master of Education program to earn a second Master’s degree. 

“With the online competency-based format, I have the ability to progress at my own pace through the course objectives,” DiTonno said. “As a full-time teacher and mom with two teenage boys, life is pretty busy. Without question, this program has provided the most flexibility of any program I have ever taken.”

While all courses in the program are exclusively online, students are invited to participate in immersion events that allow them to network in-person with their fellow students, faculty, and leading professionals in their field. Every student is also assigned a dedicated teacher education specialist who acts as a personal success coach throughout the program.

“The advantage to the competency-based approach is that earning a Master’s degree while living a busy life becomes achievable,” said student Katie Zayka. “Combining self-paced education with the presence of knowledgeable professors is the future of graduate education.  Students spend their time in classes across the curriculum not to learn facts but to develop skills.”

The 36-credit online program typically takes one-and-a-half to two years to complete. Courses are offered in accelerated (6- to 8-week) sessions, with six convenient enrollment points throughout the year. The next start date is August 29.

To learn more about the online Master of Education program, visit online.merrimack.edu. Or contact a Merrimack online M.Ed. Admission Specialist at 978-274-9259.

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