USC Master Arts in Teaching Unlike Any Other
MAT at USC unlike any other Online Degree
In 2008 the University of Southern California - Teaching made a couple of changes within its Rossier School of Education. They eliminated the undergraduate program, which was attracting less than 100 students a year, and launched the more popular Master of Arts in Teaching program as an online option. Students could complete a bachelor's degree and earn a master's in teaching in thirteen months. Working teaches could enroll in an online program that didn't require presence on campus, in a city known for its interminable traffic jams. But the genesis of the MAT at USC was a joint effort between the school and an entrepreneurial enterprise called 2tor, a successful effort that has created unique software for a new level of interactive education being provided in distance learning format.
Online, On Camera Classes
Some of the courses utilize a format that includes video participation of all students plus the professor. The screen looks like a checkerboard with a face in each square and the interactive day in class can include exchanges between students, between student and instructor, and a discussion format that is supported by real time webcam technology. Professors can divide a class of twenty or twenty five into three groups, listen in on all three discussions and call the class back together afterwards.
Other classes are presented as PowerPoint presentations, as videocasts of a lecture, or even employment of animation. Professors can write notes on a virtual white board or call up a word document or slide as a discussion point. Course materials are available on a twenty four hour basis and communication with professors is constant. The classes are small enough that students get to know their colleagues and their instructors. Students can attend "office hours" via the webcam for one-on-one discussions with a professor. The university and 2Tor also provide 24/7 technical support for students, that goes beyond software glitches to computer problems at home.
Enrolled Students from 46 States
The online MAT at USC has doubled in size since its inception in 2008 and shows the signs of a successful venture. Students have the option of enrolling in virtually any semester; four hundred students were enrolled in the Spring 2010. Because USC has put so much effort into marketing this program and its unusually high academic quality the response has been nationwide. And the faculty has bought into the online effort which has given it the credibility that Rossier has long achieved in its traditional graduate programs. The school can be somewhat selective in the students it enrolls, but those that are accepted fined an exhilarating online experience awaits them.
Students who complete the MAT at USC are eligible for licensure as teachers in California. For students who live outside the state the school has created an extensive database on teaching license requirements on a state by state basis. The Certification Map has become a valuable asset for online MAT students at USC who want to teach in their home states.
Meeting the Student Teacher Requirement
There are several terms today for what was once called student teaching, but it remains an important part of teacher education. USC puts the time and resources into ensuring that every MAT student can find the proper opportunity for classroom participation under the guidance of an experienced teacher and with the oversight of a Rossier professor or administrative staffer. The internship challenge for online programs has been successfully met through the energetic, proactive approach of the USC faculty and staff.
There is also a widespread reciprocity program among states that allows for transfer of a teaching license from one state to another without penalty or additional academic work. A USC Master of Arts in Teaching graduate can seek a teaching job in their home states if they pay attention to the licensure requirements in that state and the terms of reciprocity, which differ from state to state. This MAT program comes closer than any other online master's in teaching option available to duplicating the on campus experience in every dimension and to providing the support that allows its graduates to go out and teach.