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Appalachian to offer online MSA degree beginning in August

BOONE—Public school teachers interested in becoming school principals will soon have access to an online Master of School Administration degree program being offered by Appalachian State University.

Appalachian’s Reich College of Education has offered the MSA degree at off-campus locations throughout the region for many years. Beginning this fall, however, teachers who can’t travel to one of the university’s off-campus sites will have the option of enrolling in the program online.

The college anticipates enrolling 15-20 students in each cohort admitted to the graduate degree program, which prepares individuals for a school principalship at all levels of public school and leads to initial licensure as a school administrator in North Carolina.

“A number of working teachers requested access to online instruction,” said Dr. Charles Duke, dean of the Reich College of Education. “The addition of this online degree acknowledges that their professional lives have changed dramatically and that time has become an even more valuable commodity for them.”

Duke said that students enrolling in the program can expect the same strong relationship with their teachers as students who enroll in traditional courses. “The online MSA degree allows us to share the quality instruction and personal attention from faculty that is part of the Appalachian experience with a wider population,” he said. Technology, such as email, Duke said, means students have ready access to professors outside of class.

The 36-hour online program will incorporate instruction delivered through the college’s virtual classroom called Teleplace and other online tools such as blogs, course-specific web pages and ASULearn, a web-based course management system.

The first cohort of students will be taught entirely online, which means students would meet face to face with their instructor for no more than two hours for the entire course. A hybrid online course includes class meetings at the beginning, middle and end of the semester.  Feedback from students enrolled in the online program will be used to determine the best delivery method for MSA instruction.

“We are seeing education change in ways I would never have dreamed 20 years ago in my career,” said Dr. Alvin Proffitt, program coordinator and a professor in the college’s Department of Leadership and Educational Studies. “In the past, our service area was limited to a specific region. Online education allows us to serve students regardless of geographic boundaries.”

For information about Appalachian’s MSA degree program, including offerings at its off-campus sites in Burke, Catawba, Forsyth, McDowell and Yadkin counties, visit http://les.appstate.edu/programs/school-administration/msa or http://distance.appstate.edu/graduate-programs/75.

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