Students anticipate School of Art’s new online master’s program

Cassie Smith

The School of Art will launch a new art education master’s program — online — for Fall 2013.

The decision to offer the master’s degree online is based on students’ needs, said Linda Hoeptner Poling, an assistant art education professor.

The School of Art has received many requests for an online art program from a variety of art teachers and alumni who lead busy lives and like the convenience and flexibility of Internet courses.

“The convenience that online learning can provide is very parallel to the needs of the fast-paced contemporary society,” Hoeptner Poling said.

Stephen Tornero, a graduate student, is currently taking the art education courses online.

“I was a full-time teacher up until this year, so I really enjoyed being able to take classes online,” Tornero said. “I liked the Blackboard system, and I felt like these professors in general were really good at using it.”

The university conducted a survey in which art teachers from Ohio were asked if they wanted an online program and their answers were “overwhelmingly yes,” Hoeptner Poling explained.

“We knew that we could proceed in good faith that we were doing the right thing,” Hoeptner Poling said. “But we kind of had the feeling for a good five or six years that we needed to go online, so this is the year.”

When polled in the survey, the art teachers were also asked about how they wanted the program to be formatted. They were given a few options and the results showed that many wanted the flexibility to enter the program at any time, and that the classes be short, Hoeptner Poling said.

“So at this point we’re thinking of offering one one-credit-hour course per six weeks,” Hoeptner-Poling said. “We’re hoping that people will easily be done in two years.”

The program’s degree requirements will differ for students based on what track they chose. There will be a project track and a thesis track. The thesis track is the more traditional route for a master’s program, and the project track will be geared toward practicing teachers, Hoeptner Poling said.

Students taking the online classes will be provided with tutorials so that they are able to observe exactly how they should instruct projects and assignments, Hoeptner Poling said.

“Online courses are most definitely a commitment,” Hoeptner Poling said. “They’re very rigorous. I know often there’s a misconception that they’re going to be easier. We’re finding out that is not so at all. If you have paced weekly assignments, and you get behind, you really get messed up as a student.”

Contact Cassie Smith at [email protected].