The University of St. Thomas’ College of Education, Leadership and Counseling has added two new programs to the graduate-level, special-education degree and certificate programs that it offers online. Students now can earn a master’s degree and/or a teaching license in the two programs: Academic Behavioral Strategist and Developmental Disabilities.

St. Thomas began offering special-education courses 40 years ago and today offers on-campus programs in six areas of licensure. A year ago it began to offer its special-education courses online. The first program, in autism spectrum disorders, began with 12 graduate students and now enrolls 65 students from 22 states and from throughout Minnesota.

“The online programs allow us to reach students nationally and in greater Minnesota,” said Dr. Terri Vandercook, chair of the Special Education and Gifted Education Department. “We are focused on the quality of the programs to ensure they provide students with the same rigor and relevance as our on-campus programs. All students graduate with the knowledge, skills and dispositions required of professionals in the field of special education.”

Class-time learning in the programs is 100 percent online. However, there are more than 100 hours of applied-learning assignments. Students have the opportunity to complete their clinical practice in their present jobs, as long as the setting meets program requirements.

The programs’ online components include streaming-video lectures, live class sessions and downloadable course materials. The programs’ virtual community includes professor-hosted discussion boards, live chat rooms, email, social networking, group study and sharing, and 24-hour technical support. The online classroom is accessible from any Internet-ready device, including tablets and mobile phones.

Classes start every eight weeks, with the next session starting March 9.

St. Thomas’ online programs are offered in partnership with University Alliance, a division of Tampa-based Bisk Education. Alliance also partners with universities such as Villanova, Notre Dame, Scranton, Florida Tech and Michigan State to deliver online degree and professional certificate programs.

More information about the St. Thomas programs is available at this website.

Here are three additional websites with information about St. Thomas’ special education programs:

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