Online Master's In Gifted Ed
Serves Students Around The World
One student asked a classmate about a reading assignment.
Another asked the professor for feedback on a paper. Several
discussed a group project.
It sounds like ordinary classroom conversation, but there's
a twist: The students live in Alaska, Singapore, and New York
- and their teacher lives in Montana.
students are among the growing number of people from around
the world enrolled in UConn's online master's degree program
in gifted and talented education.
are currently 42 students in the program.
started two years ago when demand grew for more online courses,
says Del Siegle, associate professor of educational psychology.
"It's perfect for people who want to pursue an advanced
degree in gifted and talented education without sacrificing
family or work time," he says. And there are other benefits.
don't have some of the campus restrictions," he says.
"We have experts in the field from around the world who
give guest lectures - and our students can ask them questions."
says the courses are very interactive. "We've designed
them to stimulate discussions among students and instructors
and have included group projects."
that because students tend to participate more in discussions
in online courses, learning becomes an even richer experience.
"They can't hide when they're online," he says.
"In a traditional class, a person can sit in the back
of the room and not say a word. When they're online, if someone
says, 'Bob, what do you think?' Bob has to be there."
is run through WebCT, an online course management software
to the online courses, students are required to come to Storrs
twice: once at the start of the program, when they meet fellow
classmates and professors, and again at the end, to take the
comprehensive exams. The degree program also includes attending
Confratute, a professional development conference and institute
held in Storrs during the summer for teachers of the gifted
Komar, who lives in Burlington, works part-time as a computer
love taking online classes," says Komar, the mother of
two gifted children. "It's so convenient. I'm able to
fit the coursework into my available time, and am not held
to a daily schedule. I would never have been able to accomplish
this on campus."
Hedges, a full-time teacher who lives in Kodiak, Alaska, says,
"it is the only realistic way for me to take courses
at this time. I don't have to take a leave of absence, I don't
have to relocate, and I can do most of the work on my own
who learned about the program through Confratute, says she
"wanted to be part of the UConn program. The people and
the knowledge base don't get any better."
Leong is a student who lives between two countries - Singapore
and China. "I was searching for an online course that
allowed me to do everything," says Leong, who was a full-time
tax attorney when she started the program.
are many benefits of studying online," Leong says. "I
could sit anywhere in an airport, Internet café, wireless
hot spot, and just check in," she says. "I was able
to fit the course around my schedule and still fulfill my
main purpose of changing careers." She expects to graduate
says she learned a lot from her classmates, many of whom had
prior experience in gifted education. "Because we could
not physically speak with each other, it demanded that input
for any topic or discussion be written in detail," she
says. "This was a major benefit of the course for me
as a neophyte educator. I doubt that such sharing would have
been available if we had attended class on site."
works full-time as UConn's outreach director of chemistry
and coordinator for the Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority
Participation. A research chemist for 18 years, she was drawn
to the online master's program "because of the nature
of the courses," she says. "It lets you have practicum
credit for doing your own creative work, and it has a component
where you actually get to meet your fellow students and instructors
in the summer. No other program had that."
E. Jean Gubbins,
G/T Program Director
NRC/GT Assoc. Director
Sally M. Reis,
Distinguished Professor & Teaching Fellow
Joseph S. Renzulli,
Neag Center Director
Three Summers & Online Director
Mentor Connection Associate Director