FAQ

Master of Arts (M.A.) in Special Education (Extended Certification - Online Format)


What is online learning?

Online learning allows students to learn course material at their own pace, within the timelines of the course, in the comfort of their home, at the local library or coffee shop. Students connect to the Internet to access course material, submit assignments, and connect with fellow students and professors.

How is online learning different from traditional classroom learning?

Instead of the traditional lecture/discussion format used in face-to-face format courses, online courses are presented electronically. Students typically participate in discussions, real time chats, multimedia presentations, group assignments and web searches. Most of the work in online courses is done asynchronously, allowing students to complete the assignments independently.

Is the Master of Arts (M.A.) in Special Education (extended certification) online program accredited?

Cardinal Stritch University is accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCA) and the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE). The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction has also granted approval of the program.

Is financial aid available?

Yes. Please visit Stritch's Financial Aid for Graduate Students webpage to learn more about opportunities that are available to you.

What if I have questions or problems during the program?

If you have a question about the academic program content, please contact the M.A. in Special Education program chair,  Dr. Amy Toson, at (414) 410-4542, toll-free (800) 347-8822, ext. 4542, or altoson1@stritch.edu. Questions about technology, University procedures, billing, financial aid, and other matters throughout the program will be assigned to a Stritch staff member.

Who teaches the courses?

All course are taught by either Stritch faculty or highly qualified adjunct professors. All instructors have experience in the K-12 classroom and are recognized for their success in the classroom.

Is the online program appropriate for me?

The M.A. in Special Education (extended certification) program at Cardinal Stritch University is directed toward the extended certification needs in the area of Special Education. Candidates in this program must have a high comfort level with technology and be able to work independently.

Try one of these online self-assessments to determine if online learning is right for you.

Do I need to be an expert in technology to take the program?

In order to succeed in this online program, students should have basic computer skills such as navigating the Internet, using word processing packages, and sending and receiving emails. More advanced skills will be taught throughout the program.

How much time do I have to complete a course?

Each course has a start and end date and coursework must be completed in the scheduled time frame for the course.

Do I receive a grade?

Yes, grades are given for each course based on course and program rubrics.

Are there quizzes and final exams that I need to take?

The philosophy of the program requires that each course have at least one “key assessment,” typically a classroom-oriented project, unit or lesson plan. There are no final exams.

Are there times when I am required to be online?

Depending on the course, synchronous (i.e. live) chat rooms may be suggested or required. If that is the case, a mutually agreed upon time will be set by the cohort. You may also have times when you are completing a project with a group and may need to be online at a mutually agreed upon time.

How much time should I set aside for each course?

Online courses have similar requirements as face-to-face courses. Typically, a student will spend eight to 12 hours per week on online courses. Most students log onto the Educator site at least once per day.

How do I order textbooks for the program?

You will be notified prior to the start of a class what textbooks, if any, are required. Textbooks can be purchased online through a number of vendors (e.g. Amazon.com) or through the Stritch Bookstore.

What are the advantages of an online program?

Flexibility is the main advantage of the online program, however, another advantage is academic parity. Students are judged on the quality of their academic work, not on their social skills, aggressiveness in discussions, or personal charisma.

How many students will be in my cohort?

Cardinal Stritch University is committed to the individual learner. For that reason, many cohorts are in the range of 12 to 15 students, with a maximum of 20.

Am I able to transfer credits into the program from another university?

Possibly. Please contact the M.A. in Special Education program advisor, Molly Young, at (414) 410-4116 or mkyoung@stritch.edu to confirm.

Do I have access to the Cardinal Stritch University library?

Yes. You will receive a Stritch ID, which allows you access to library books, periodicals, research databases, and all other student services, including career services.

Do I ever have an opportunity to meet face-to-face with my professors and fellow students?

Yes, students will have a face-to-face orientation scheduled before the start of the program at the main campus in Milwaukee.

How do I complete my student teaching?

Student teaching is an eight week experience. You will complete the requirements listed in the course syllabus for the experience.You will have a Stritch supervisor and either a cooperating teacher, if you are in a traditional placement, or a school-based supervisor if you are doing student teaching on-the-job. The Stritch supervisor will observe you four times during the eight weeks. Your on-site cooperating teacher or supervisor will perform one formal observation and provide ongoing support during the student teaching. After each observation by your Stritch supervisor, you will discuss the observation. Any assessments that are in the course syllable will have a related rubric that you will see before assessments are completed. Your instructor will collect your copies of the rubrics when assessments are graded.

How are classes taught online?

Each course will run for a specific number of weeks, based on the number of credits for the course. Coursework to be completed is posted on the Learning Management System (LMS). Cardinal Stritch University uses Canvas, a web-based LMS. Students log onto the site with a password, but general information can be found here. Students will then see a list of activities they will complete for the week or during the course. They might be linked to a site to do reading or see a video.

What are the specific requirements of chat groups? Do I have to be online at certain times?

If a course has a group chat (synchronous), students will have the dates listed at the beginning of the course, and therefore may have to be online at a specific time for those specific chats. They may also have to be online at specific times to complete group assessments, if they are required.

What kind of assignments will I have to complete?

Each class will have key assessments that will be listed in the syllabus. Like traditional face-to-face format classes, these will include individual and group assignments. Students will use the discussion and reply ability of the LMS to increase their understanding of key concepts. The main difference is that the online program will have final projects with each class rather than final exams.