I received a master’s degree in education that focused on advanced literacy instruction. The primary reason I loved getting a master’s degree from Concordia University-Texas was because of the partnerships I developed while there. As I worked through the courses, my classmates and professors provided the invaluable guidance and insight that I needed to be successful. The weekly discussions fostered a sense of collaborative learning. They were also unique opportunities to foster interaction and collaboration among learners. This, in turn, created a true learning community. Through these weekly discussions, I was able to discuss the week’s lesson with others serving in the same, and sometimes, different capacities as I. These discussions provided me with the opportunity to convey my personal understanding of the topic, and also consider other perspectives on learning theories or instructional approaches. Because the professors at Concordia encouraged student dialogue by asking thought-provoking questions that stimulated in-depth reflective discussions, and held us responsible for our thinking, each weekly discussion proved to be an opportunity to learn from each of the students in my class. I also found that reading responses from other students oftentimes caused me to challenge my own thinking.
Clear Assignments, Open Communication
Because I served as a full time 4th grade teacher while working toward my master’s degree, I was accustomed to maneuvering through days at an extremely fast pace. At that time, I was responsible for managing work, school, and life responsibilities. With a continuously fluctuating schedule, I was appreciative of the thorough descriptions of what was expected for each course and assignment. Assignments were designed and explained in such a way that I could complete the work independently and at my own pace. I never found that I was left to wonder whether I was proceeding correctly at any point along my path to completion of the work. Through the course of time at Concordia, I noticed that each of my professors were sure to create a variety of social learning activities. By completing these activities and assignments, I was able to demonstrate knowledge and skill proficiencies in a way that worked for me. The courses offered me the ability to exhibit my understanding of content through multiple digital formats. I believe that the variety of tasks were designed to address the diverse range of learning preferences of those in the class. In addition to this, the professors at Concordia were always sure to provide academic feedback and model their expectations for assignments. Providing structure for students to follow led to a deeper understanding of the learning.
For each assignment, Concordia professors set clear parameters for assignments and explicitly specified expectations for content and quality. If there were instances when I had questions about what was expected, the professors maintained an open line of communication, and are available to clarify anything that was unclear, or offer resources that would help guide me to understanding. Earning a master’s degree from Concordia was the best educational decision I have made.