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Graduates discover ways to enhance learning with online Education Technology degree

Graduates discover ways to enhance learning with online Education Technology degree

BROWNSVILLE, TEXAS – AUG. 5, 2015 – An online Master of Education in Educational Technology degree that was developed at The University of Texas at Brownsville/Texas Southmost College will continue to be offered through the College of Education at The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley.

Three associate professors in the UTRGV College of Education, Dr. Rene Corbeil, Dr. Sam Pan, and Dr. Maria Elena Corbeil, built upon the initial development of the program by now-retired colleagues Dr. Michael Sullivan and Dr. Badrul Khan.

The Corbeils and Pan achieved national recognition of the program through the Association for Educational Communications and Technology (AECT) and the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE), adding two graduate certificates, as well as developing an undergraduate and doctoral specialization in educational technology.

“This degree is designed to prepare educators in K-12, higher education, corporate and military settings to develop the skills and knowledge necessary for the classrooms and boardrooms of tomorrow,” Rene Corbeil said.

One of the M.Ed. success stories is Lucretia Human, a May 2013 graduate of the online Master of Education in Educational Technology at UTB/TSC, who now has a teaching career where she incorporates the distance learning curriculum design skills she learned in at UTB/TSC.

Human, a native of Port Isabel, Texas, was a certified dental hygienist, a career she enjoyed. But after 18 years, she was ready for a new challenge. So she went back to college and earned a Bachelor of Science in Dental Hygiene from Northern Arizona University, then started teaching dental hygiene classes at Texas State Technical College in Harlingen.

“I thought I could definitely do a better job than some of the classes that I had taken,” Human said. “I knew there must be a better way to present the material and engage the students by using interactive technology.”

That led her to the online M.Ed. in Educational Technology program offered at UTB/TSC.

“It was high-ranked and the tuition was lower,” she said.

For a class project, she created a continuing education class for dental assistants to be able to place dental sealants. She developed all the instructional components necessary for the course, including the syllabus, lessons, quizzes, tests and interactive videos.

“I created it for a project, but I really wanted it to be implemented,” Human said.

After reviewing Human’s project, the distance learning committee at TSTC approved it to be implemented as a class at the college.

“This has opened up a lot of avenues for me to be involved in distance learning curriculum design,” Human said.

Corbeil said Human’s experience is indicative of the practical application of the educational technology degree.

“For all of the coursework projects, we ask students to be able to identify a real-world training need or opportunity in their workplace, and designate a specific target audience – always keeping in mind they are developing resources that have the potential to be used in authentic situations.” Rene Corbeil said.

Another May graduate, Michael Voth from McKinney, Texas, also had immediate success with his new degree. He was hired by his school district as a secondary-level, full-time instructional technology coordinator. 

An 18-year veteran physics teacher, Voth said his career development from teaching to developing ways to help other teachers be more effective in the classroom seemed to be a logical progression.

“What sets this master’s degree aside from a lot of others is that everything you learn is immediately applicable,” he said. “You are learning something in this program and you can literally go incorporate it into your teaching the next day. With the growth of technology, this is an area that is going to be in huge demand in the future.”

Corbeil said many students in the program are like Voth and Human, using their new degrees as stepping stones within their organizations.

“Those searching for employment, who must make good impressions with their applications and interviews, can feel confident that they have not only a resume stating their degrees and skills, but also a comprehensive electronic portfolio to show the prospective employer,” Corbeil said. “The portfolio can often make the difference between a polite ‘thank you’ and ‘we’d like you to join our team.’”

Graduates of the program are currently working for textbook companies, NASA, Apple, Hewlett Packard, H-E-B, Dell, and in a number of hospitals, he said.

Maria Elena Corbeil stressed their commitment to innovative teaching.

“We’re very passionate about walking the journey with our students,” she said. “They are not alone – from the moment we take their first phone call to ask about the program, to the day they graduate. We assure them they will not be abandoned in cyberspace.”

Aside from the 36-hour master’s degree, preliminary nine- and 12-hour E-learning and technology certificates are available that can count as electives toward the master’s degree.

For more information on the online M.Ed. in Educational Technology, contact rene.corbeil@utrgv.edu or mariaelena.corbeil@utrgv.edu.

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Marci Caltabiano-Ponce, UTRGV Director of News and Internal Communications
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