New University of Nebraska online programs offer teachers opportunities for skill, career advancement

Earning a master’s degree can help teachers deepen their skillsets, advance their careers and earn more money – and the summer months can be an ideal time to get started. Teachers looking to pursue additional education now have more options for specialization thanks to expanded online program offerings at the University of Nebraska.

In all, nearly 70 education programs – including bachelor's, master's and doctorate degrees, certificates and endorsements – are available through University of Nebraska Online Worldwide, the university's distance education initiative. New master's programs include a Master of Arts in Teaching with a specialization in mathematics offered by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and a Master of Arts in Education with a specialization in Spanish education offered by the University of Nebraska at Kearney.

Both of the new master's programs can be completed fully online, making them ideal options for teachers who desire flexible, quality education and those for whom distance has been a barrier to continuing education.

"The University of Nebraska is a recognized leader in providing teachers, school administrators and others who work with students the skills they need to succeed as educators in Nebraska and beyond," said Mary Niemiec, associate vice president for distance education and director of University of Nebraska Online Worldwide. "We're proud that so many of our education programs are available fully online, ensuring that individuals can access our flexible, quality courses no matter where they are. The new master's degree programs in Spanish and mathematics in particular offer teachers excellent opportunities to specialize their skills. Students – Nebraska's future leaders – will benefit tremendously."

The M.A.T. in mathematics is geared toward math teachers who want to strengthen their skills, those who want to prepare for the Common Core State Standards, and others. The program focuses on key concepts in high school algebra, pre-calculus and geometry – all main categories in the Common Core. Students can select other courses based on their individual needs. The program requires 36 hours of coursework and includes a final exam consisting of a set of mathematical questions and detailed written solutions, a short essay about math teaching and learning, and an expository paper and oral presentation on a mathematical topic which can be conducted in person or via the web.

"Thanks to the support of the National Science Foundation and our partners across the state, UNL mathematics and mathematics education faculty have developed a content-rich graduate curriculum for mathematics teachers and have been able to provide these courses to more than 600 teachers in Nebraska," said Jim Lewis, professor of mathematics. "Although the courses have convened in a variety of Nebraska locations, much of this effort until now has involved courses that meet in-person. We believe it's also important to offer our courses online to better enable us to serve teachers with restrictive schedules or for whom travel to one of our course locations is not an option."

The M.A. Ed. in Spanish education is designed for K-12 Spanish teachers who would like to broaden their skillsets. The program includes 18 credit hours of Spanish coursework and 18 hours of education-related coursework primarily focused on second language acquisition and foreign language pedagogy. Graduates of the program are positioned to pursue additional career opportunities teaching Spanish at a community college or serving as lecturers or adjunct faculty members at the college or university level. Students who complete the master's degree may also go on to pursue a doctoral education program.

"We're excited to offer this outstanding UNK graduate program online, as it gives current secondary Spanish teachers the opportunity to pursue a graduate degree in their field," said Chris Jochum, coordinator of the program and an assistant professor in the UNK Department of Modern Languages. "All of the classes in the program have an underlying focus on helping teachers have an even stronger impact in their classrooms. We're also excited that the program features an optional study abroad component, which gives students the opportunity to expand their cultural and language proficiency."

University of Nebraska Online Worldwide provides access to more than 130 online degree, certificate and endorsement programs offered by the four NU campuses across 16 fields of study. All Online Worldwide programs are fully accredited and provide the same high-quality education that students receive in the classroom on the four NU campuses. The university recently was recognized in U.S. News & World Report magazine's rankings of the nation's best online programs; the University of Nebraska at Omaha's bachelor's degree was ranked 11th; UNK's graduate education program was ranked 8th; and UNL's online MBA was ranked 17th.

The university will continue to grow its online programs as it works to expand access to more Nebraskans and others seeking flexible, quality education.

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Melissa Lee
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