Areas of Concentration Course Descriptions

In partnership with Learners Edge, Augustana's online Master of Arts in Education degree program features five options for concentration:

  • Instructional Strategies: a focus on practical applications to support student achievement and engagement
  • Reading: a focus on teaching strategies, assessment, and instruction that facilitates deeper comprehension of fiction and nonfiction texts
  • Special Populations: a focus on how to support and teach at-risk students, with an emphasis on Autism, Response to Intervention (RTI) and emotional/behavioral issues
  • STEM: Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics
  • Technology: a focus on utilizing and implementing technology to enhance student learning

Instructional Strategies

Course #1 EDUC 6130: RTI: Response to Intervention (3 credits)

Struggling to address learning difficulties prior to special education services? Learn about the innovative model that is sweeping the country, RTI. Response to Intervention (RTI) assists is raising all student achievement and provides an alternative process for student identification, using proven methods and instructional tools/strategies to support the learner. Learn how to implement RTI, assess students for early identification, and differentiate instruction for diverse learners. This course is appropriate for general and special education teachers at the elementary level, as well as administrators.

Course #2 EDUC 6131: The Brain and Best Practice Teaching (3 credits)

This course will help you teach in a more meaningful, powerful manner. You will be a more effective teacher when you can base your teaching methods on updated scientific information about the learning brain. This course will explore the role of emotion in learning, different types of memory rehearsal, how the brain stores and retrieves information, the primacy-recency effect, windows of opportunity, and much more. Learn how to make learning last, and learn how to create a meaning-filled classroom environment. Explore numerous examples of successful brain-based learning strategies in all grade levels and subjects.

Course #3 EDUC 6132: Inquiry Teaching and Learning (3 credits)

Inquiry learning can be effectively integrated into all classrooms (K-12). Explore the critical ingredients of inquiry and inquiry circles, delving into foundational concepts of comprehension instruction, classroom collaboration, and classroom management as they relate to inquiry success. Join with your students to explore rich content inside and beyond the curriculum — to wonder, question, build knowledge, care, and take action in the world.

Reading

Course #1 EDUC 6150: Literacy Assessment and Teacher Practice (3 credits)

This course explores the research behind assessments, grading and the use of data. Participants will also analyze the use of language and how phrases can enhance instruction and student motivation. The course includes multiple reading strategies piloted in actual classrooms and grounded in solid research. Whether your students have special needs or show no apparent learning difficulties, this course will expand your repertoire of teaching strategies and help put students on the road to literacy.

Course #2 EDUC 6151: Reading for Understanding: Comprehension Instruction K-12 (3 credits)

This course will provide numerous strategies to assist the struggling student with reading comprehension. The first section of the course will focus on the primary/elementary student providing real life examples and dozens of scenarios/examples demonstrate effective ways to: select the perfect books, model think alouds, assist students in making important connections, and empower students to have meaningful conversation about the texts they are reading. The second, addresses first and second draft understandings, explores the use of fix-it strategies, collaboration techniques, the use of metaphors to further understanding and the role reflection plays in comprehension for the intermediate and middle school student.

Course #3 EDUC 6152: Teaching Reading in the Content Areas (3 credits)

This course will enable teachers of all content areas to teach their students how to be better readers. The strategies in the course text will make the teaching of reading a practical, achievable goal in every subject. This course contains dozens of proven strategies that help students develop their vocabularies, comprehend informational and narrative texts, and engage in meaningful discussions of what they read. In addition to reading strategies, this course also explores critical elements of reading, strategic processing, and the creation of a classroom environment conducive to reading.

Special Populations

Course #1 EDUC 6130: RTI: Response to Intervention (3 credits)

Struggling to address learning difficulties prior to special education services? Learn about the innovative model that is sweeping the country, RTI. Response to Intervention (RTI) assists is raising all student achievement and provides an alternative process for student identification, using proven methods and instructional tools/strategies to support the learner. Learn how to implement RTI, assess students for early identification, and differentiate instruction for diverse learners. This course is appropriate for general and special education teachers at the elementary level, as well as administrators.

Course #2 EDUC 6141: Teaching Students At Risk (3 credits)

How can you engage the disengaged, connect with the disconnected, and reach the growing number of students in your classroom that are considered at-risk? Explore strategies for increasing engagement and building connections, and delve into identifying criteria for the at-risk students in your classroom. You will gain a better understanding of the contributing factors that put your students at risk. More importantly, you will become armed with strategies to reach and teach this challenging population of students.

Course #3 EDUC 6142: Autism Spectrum Pedagogy (3 credits)

Finally, a course specifically designed to help you work with students with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Explore the following important components: characteristics and types of ASD, the role of assistive technology, intervention models, proven instructional approaches, parent involvement techniques, and available support services.

STEM

Course #1 EDUC 6110: STEM Fundamentals (3 credits)
Educators interested in integrating individual courses toward a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) model, developing a larger-scale STEM initiative in their school or enhancing an existing STEM program will find value in this course.  Learn why STEM matters, the benefits of various STEM models, strategies to overcome challenges associated with a move toward STEM, and what teachers need to know and do to successfully implement STEM initiatives. 

Course #2 EDUC 6111: STEM Bridges (3 credits)
This course considers how STEM education can facilitate connections.  Planning effective STEM lessons requires educators to consider multiple factors which woven together help ensure lessons have the greatest positive impact. Through the context of planning for STEM lessons, teachers will investigate various models of technology integration, evaluate how the teacher role transforms with STEM education, and investigate the untapped potential in community and in-school resources can be used to support students and teachers who want to transition to STEM education.  Additionally, teachers will consider strategies to support students with disabilities and opportunities to embrace and celebrate diversity through STEM education.

Course #3 EDUC 6112: STEM Implementation (3 credits)
This course is designed to help STEM educators move from ideas for STEM implementation to action.  STEM lesson ideas and best practices anchored in science, mathematics, engineering are reviewed.  Educators in elementary, middle and high school will be prepared to take their classrooms to the next level of STEM via investigation of ideas for STEM implementation in specific grade levels.  Finally, best practices for assessing integrated and authentic STEM lessons will be presented to help teachers reflect and revise STEM lessons as they work toward a culture of continuous improvement.

Technology

Course #1 EDUC  6120: Technology and the 21st Century Learner (3 credits)

Develop the ability to become a knowledgeable, well-equipped educator in this high-tech online world. This course is a blend of theory, research and ideas for working with students who are part of the digital generation.  Explore a wealth of intriguing, thought-provoking ideas that can help you improve your craft and participate more fully in the 21st century teaching and learning. Prepare to challenge your thinking, examine your current instruction and stretch your knowledge of what it means to teach and learn in this new generation.

Course #2 EDUC 6121: Web Based Instruction (3 credits)

This course will move educators to think differently about technology's potential for strengthening students' critical thinking, writing, reflection, and interactive learning. This course explores how Web tools can generate exciting new learning formats and explains how to apply these tools in the classroom to engage all students. Specific teaching applications are included for web logs, wikis, and RSS (rich site summary).

Course #3 EDUC 6122: Instructional Technology Tools (3 credits)

Because the digital world can be overwhelming, this course is designed to help you explore the online realm in small, manageable bytes. You will gain an understanding of a wide variety of online tools to enhance the classroom and instruction. Overall guidance for the new digital learners and in-depth direction for the more advanced will be provided. Find ways to stretch both your learning and your students through the user-friendly text and our stimulating online environment.