EKU launching online education degree to address teacher shortage
RICHMOND, Ky. (WKYT) - Eastern Kentucky University is working to address the ongoing teacher shortage by offering a new online degree in elementary education, starting in August.
Over the last ten years, EKU’s faculty have been working hard on the program. They say now is a great time for it to get started so it can be implemented to the best of its ability.
“What we learned from Covid is that we can deliver a quality program and provide the kinds of resources that we would for our traditional students to our online students as well,” said Dr. Nicola Mason, chairperson of EKU’s Dept. of Teaching, Learning, and Educational Leadership.
Dr. Mason says EKU has produced teachers for the region for more than 100 years.
“Everybody knows there’s a teaching shortage and EKU is committed to addressing this in a variety of different ways,” said Dr. Mason.
Dr. Mason says the 3 and half year online degree in elementary education serves as a convenient option for students who work and makes the program accessible to people outside of Kentucky.
She says online students’ experiences will still be just as personal.
“Even though you’re an online student, you would have an advising session with a faculty member every semester, probably through Zoom, and you’ll talk about how your courses are going, what you want to register for the following semester and what kind of supports you need,” said Dr. Mason.
Online students will also participate in student teaching experiences and will have 200 hours of remote observation.
“We can observe you implementing a lesson to young students all over Kentucky as well as outside of Kentucky,” said Dr. Mason.
Dr. Mason says the program is already seeing a lot of interest. She says she’s hopeful new opportunities like this will put more teachers back in the schools.
“We just need to continue encouraging people to make the choice to take this on as a profession,” Dr. Mason said.
Dr. mason says they’re hoping to enroll at least 25 students in the program for the fall semester. She says the university does have plans to expand this program in the future to include online degrees in middle and high school education.
Copyright 2023 WKYT. All rights reserved.