Internet paves the way for teacher certification

By The Voice Staff

Online education is becoming more prevalent at colleges and universities around the world. In spite of its growing popularity, online education is the source of much debate. Everything from the quality of education to academic integrity has been questioned. And yet more variety is being offered. Even traditional classes such as English and journalism are being taught at a distance. But teaching?

Rio Salado College, which has provided distance learning for 15 years, is now offering a post baccalaureate On-Line Teacher Preparation Program.

The Arizona Department of Education approved program has curriculums available for elementary, secondary and special education teaching. Students take 14-week courses that begin every two weeks. The courses may be accelerated if students wish to take less time.

Unlike its onground contemporaries, Rio Salado’s program does not start with admission. Prospective teachers must attend an orientation, participate in master teacher meetings and complete anywhere from nine to 18 credits, depending on their chosen area.

Only then may they apply for admission. There are numerous admission requirements, which include a bachelor’s degree and completion of the Collegiate Assessment of Academic Proficiency Exam. A strong selling point of the program is that it exposes future teachers to the classroom setting long before the customary last semester of student teaching.

Although nine weeks of student teaching are required, participants must complete up to 110 practicum hours throughout the program. Each course has a requisite amount of practicum hours. The practicum experience includes observation, one-on-one tutoring, and actual classroom teaching. Students also submit a personal reflection report after each practicum is completed.

By placing students in the classroom early on, the program gives students the chance to assess their aptitude for teaching as well as their general liking for the field. After students have completed all requirements, 48 credits for elementary, 33 for secondary and 45 for special education, they must apply to the Arizona Department of Education for a teacher’s certificate.

To reserve a space at the next orientation, interested parties may call (480) 517-8938. For more information on the program, visit Rio Salado’s website at http://www.rio.maricopa.edu/education.

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