New master’s program brings technology to educators this fall

By JESSE SUTTON

News Editor

The School of Education is starting a new master’s degree for the Demorest and Athens campuses beginning next year. 

The Master of Arts degree in Instructional Technology: Instructional Design and Development is being released in the Fall of 2013 in Athens and Spring 2014 in Demorest. 

According to Randy Hollandsworth, assistant professor of education, admission into this program requires any undergraduate degree from a Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) accredited institution and can include non-education majors.  

“The degree focuses on theory, application, and evaluation of best practices in instructional design, distance learning administration and design, human resource development, and learning program management,” said Hollandsworth.  

The degree is still pending full approval by SACS, but Piedmont can promote the degree and recruit students into the degree with the condition that Piedmont communicate the pending SACS accreditation. 

The students pursuing this degree will participate in classes that are 20% online and 80% traditional or hybrid. 

“As a new degree, it is the goal of the School of Education to reach new educational venues, new markets and hopefully new students in the years to come,” said Hollandsworth. 

“More importantly, an instructional technology degree can impact educators, designers, and trainers at multiple levels in enhancing the design, delivery, and evaluation of learning initiatives. With the constant need for instructional technology support at Piedmont, it is our hope that our students might step up as graduate assistants and on special projects that help catapult Piedmont instructional technology practices.”

The establishment of the program has taken a year to plan, approve and submit for accreditation.

The degree was initially developed with the Feasibility Study Committee (FSC) which examined the potential for the degree. 

The FSC drafted a recommendation to the Dean of Education Don Gnecco and it was approved by the School of Education by a faculty vote during the Spring 2013 semester. 

According to Hollandsworth, the current focus of the program is marketing by Graduate Admissions, as well as developing the curriculum and gathering necessary software.

“It is our goal to… establish Piedmont as a reputable source for knowledgeable and innovative program designers, trainers in human resources, online learning coordinators for corporate and higher education, and other roles that the graduates could play,” said Hollandsworth. 

“In the end, we hope we have an impact on Piedmont’s enrollment, enhancement of technological resources for instruction and labs, and raising the instructional technology skills for Piedmont faculty and students in other programs.”

Along with the Instructional Design and Development degree, the School of Education is developing a second degree. 

The Master of Arts in Instructional Technology:  Design, Integration, and Administration is geared toward Georgia certified teachers seeking advanced certification in Instructional Technology. 

Unlike the previous degree, these applicants must have a Georgia PSC teaching certificate.   

 “Currently, the status for this degree is pending full approval by SACS,” said Hollandsworth. 

“Additionally, the degree is pending full approval by the Georgia Professional Standards Commission as an accredited degree for advanced certification… A late 2014 rollout is projected for accepting graduate admissions and starting the program.”