Best Online Master’s Degrees in Education Technology: Guide to Online Programs for 2022

Best Online Master’s Degrees in Education Technology: Guide to Online Programs for 2022
Imed Bouchrika, Phd by Imed Bouchrika, Phd
Chief Data Scientist & Head of Content

Since the British Broadcasting Company (BBC) began airing educational radio programs in the 1920s, technology in education has advanced significantly (Bates, 2015). The emergence of the internet era has greatly increased the complexity and adaptability of educational technology, enabling a wide range of personalized teaching strategies. Its effective use requires both art and science. As such, the best online master’s degrees in education technology are thriving.

To this end, formal academic programs are offered by many universities to accommodate both education professionals and teachers-in-training. Given the focus on digital technology, different education degree types can now be earned online.

This article will let you know more about how you can get into an online master’s degree in educational technology program. We will also discuss general requirements, costs, and other factors to consider. In this way, you will know what to expect should you choose to enroll.

Can you get a degree completely online?

Yes. Online education was already mainstream even way before the COVID-19 pandemic broke out. In 2018, a study found that 61% of HR leaders already believed that the quality of an education earned online or in-person is, more or less, the same as that of its on-campus counterpart (Gallagher, 2018). The outbreak just accelerated both distance learning adoption and acceptance. This applies to both education per se and employment.

Given this trend, educational technology degree programs are needed more than ever. These programs teach education professionals and future teachers how to effectively design education delivery with the help of digital technologies. Many efforts in such programs are dedicated to making online or distance learning better. Also, as these programs are also available online, students will get to experience firsthand the nuances of online education.

Many prestigious institutions offer purely Online Master’s Degree Programs in Educational Technology. These include North Carolina State University at Raleigh and the University of Central Missouri.

Will employers take my online degree seriously?

Employers today take online degrees seriously. In addition, many large companies are even into hiring talented people with no college diplomas depending on the job and discipline. These include Google, Hilton, Costo Wholesale, Apple, IBM, and Bank of America (Glassdoor, 2020). These companies hire for positions like research scientist, contract and negotiations professional, and even senior software development engineer.

Moreover, according to recent online education statistics, degrees earned online are now respected more than ever—partly because of the pandemic. But even before the outbreak, it was found that a solid 55% of employers believe that credentials earned online are generally equivalent in quality to those earned on-campus (Gallagher, 2018). Furthermore, it was also found that 71% of HR leaders have already hired an employee with a credential or degree earned online.

Note, however, that there are localities, even in the United States, where most employers would prefer traditional face-to-face graduates over those who earned their degree online. This can also depend on the discipline.

Cole J. Engel (2020), an associate professor in Accounting at Fort Hays State University, found that employers were not inclined to hire graduates of online programs in Kansas. He published his study with the title “The acceptability of online degrees for obtaining entry-level employment in the accounting profession: A Kansas study” in Global Journal of Accounting and Finance. He wrote that “higher education institutions, especially those serving Kansans, must consider that online degree graduates are not as attractive to employers as traditional face to face graduates.” So, he pointed out that it may “not be the right time for academic leaders in Kansas to allocate resources to develop online degree programs in accounting.”

If this is right, and this may be the case in many localities, online students should get to know whether employers in their localities are reluctant in hiring them or not.

Source: Gallagher, 2018

Are online degrees recognized all over the world?

Degree programs with regional accreditation are recognized all over the world. Specific to educational technology programs, the recognized accreditation bodies are the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) and the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) (Best College Reviews, 2021).

So, before you choose a school or a program, double-check whether they are accredited. However, reputable universities, in general, offer accredited Online Educational Technology degree programs. But it does not hurt to check.

Moreover, EdTech investments had increased in 2020. Wan (2021) reported that in 2020 alone, $2.2 billion was raised by U.S. EdTech companies. This is a great increase from the $1.4 billion and the $1.7 billion in 2018 and 2019. Moreover, the number of investment deals also increased. In 2018 and 2019, the numbers were 110 and 105. The year 2020 finished with 130. These statistics are only a sign that online degree programs and online degree courses will become more widely accepted.

Another great sign for online degree acceptance, as pointed out by Gallagher and Palmer (2020), is that highly reputable and forward-thinking institutions like the University of Illinois have been using technology to not only scale programs to students at a discounted rate but also to reduce faculty labor. In fact, the university’s entire M.B.A. program is now offered at only $22,000. This led to the retirement of its traditional residential offering (Gallagher & Palmer, 2020). Georgia Tech’s online Master’s in Computer Science Program, a pioneer in online education, now only costs $7,000. The institution recently announced that fall enrollment reached 10,000.

So, moving forward, online degrees are more likely to get accepted internationally in the future.

Online vs. Traditional Master’s Program in Educational Technology

A Master’s in Educational Technology degree program helps future teachers and education professionals to develop skills in integrating technology effectively in their pedagogical approaches. They will gain proficiency in various software, hardware, and even programming languages (Dakota State University, 2021).

Today, a flexible online-based master’s degree in educational technology program is very common. There are even universities that offer the program purely online. In terms of learning how to better use technology in education, an online-based program would be appropriate. Furthermore, online learning programs have become mainstream because of the pandemic, according to recent online education trends.

Online degree programs offer more flexibility in scheduling and pacing since most programs are competency-based. Thus, they are perfect for working professionals who wish to find a healthy work-life-study balance. Given that the pandemic is not at all over, an online-based education might just be the only way for many to continue their schooling.

Is an online degree cheaper?

In general, online degree programs are cheaper because of two main reasons. Schools charge less because online students do not get to use much of the school’s resources compared to their on-campus peers. Secondly, online students get to save on lodging, board, transportation, and other expenses for in-person attendance.

Note, though, that online students may need to invest more in software, hardware, and a fast, stable internet connection. However, these are less expensive in the long run. If you come to think about it, these are investments that on-campus students need to spend on as well.

Is an online degree as good as a regular degree?

There is little difference between taking the online route or the in-person option. Once educational institutions extend their offerings to online degree courses, they keep everything in the curriculum and completion requirements the same. Moreover, both online and in-person students will get the same faculty members to teach and support them. So, when it comes to quality of education and the difficulty of requirements, online and in-person programs are, more or less, the same.

However, there are dimensions that classroom-based students have better competencies in than their online counterparts and vice versa. For instance, a study by Ferreras-Garcia and colleagues (2020) found that students from “classroom-based university obtained very good results in ethics-related competencies, while online university students did so with ICT-related competencies.” The study called “Competencies in business degrees: A face-to-face and online comparative study” was published in the Journal of Education for Business. 

This, though, could be a complex product of deficiencies in methods of instruction or learning methodology as the researchers noted. This is something that must be researched further. Moreover, this is something that educational technologists will tackle in their studies. It could also be a good research question.

How much does an Online Master’s Program in Educational Technology costs?

Using a methodology of ranking factors, including academics (50%), affordability (25%), and online programming (25%), BestColleges (2021) published its top 10 online Master’s in Educational Technology programs of 2021. Within this overarching methodology, the analysis also considered aspects like enrollment rate, graduation rate, average net price, percentage of students enrolled at a master’s level, and average loan default rate.

The top 10 programs have in-state tuition fees, ranging from $266 to $924 per credit. Out-of-state per credit tuition fees range from $533 to $1,295. The average per-credit tuition fee for in-state students is $526.6, while the average out-of-state per-credit tuition fee is $978.

However, there are more affordable quality programs when it comes to the average net price of attending with a range of $4,744 to $10,422 (AffodableCollegesOnline.org, 2021).

Is an online Master’s in Educational Technology Degree worth it?

Getting a master’s degree can afford teachers an annual pay increase of $10,000 to $20,000 or more depending on their school districts (EducationDegree.com, 2021). Master’s-educated teachers may earn more than those with only a bachelor’s degree by $52,300 per year. Of course, this depends on the grade level they teach in.

Music Degree Tuition

Public In-StatePublic Out-of-StatePrivate
Associate Degree$5,500$14,000$17,700
Bachelor's Degree$17,000$40,000$59,200
Master's Degree$15,900$38,800$60,000
Doctoral Degree $18,000$39,000$54,000
*Values are estimates.

A master’s degree in education technology can also be a springboard for a Doctorate Degree in Educational Leadership or a Doctorate Degree in Education.

What are the requirements of an Online Master’s Program in Educational Technology?

Typically, there are admission requirements for entering Master’s of Science in Educational Technology programs like a minimum GPA and a bachelor’s degree. However, there are institutions like the University of Dakota that accept students without teacher certificates or an undergraduate degree (University of Dakota, 2021). But, as licensure requirements are different from state to state, students with no certifications might not be able to get a job outside of their base university’s state. Graduates, however, can be eligible for recommendations and endorsements outside the state by their university.

Admission Requirements

  • Bachelor’s Degree (some do not)
  • Active Teaching License
  • Professional Classroom Experience (typically 2-3 years)
  • Minimum GPA (3.0, but this may vary)

General Requirements

  • Recommendation Letters
  • Application and Processing Fees
  • Statement of Purpose
  • CV/Resume
  • Testing Requirements (many schools waived this because of the pandemic)
  • TOEFL/IELTS for International Students

What are the technological requirements of students for online learning?

As the program is wholly online, students will need to have a fast reliable internet connection, a good working PC, and other accessories to enhance the online learning experience. These may include hardware like a microphone, video camera, and a dedicated tablet. Students may also opt to subscribe to web-based platforms to help them organize their studies and schedules.

Courses to Expect in Online Master’s Program in Educational Technology

Technology in education has a wide range of applications. It is being used in curriculum design and even in performance appraisals. Also, it pervades the whole range of education delivery. In instruction alone, it is being used in all levels of education, from primary education to graduate education.

For students to get a grasp of the concepts and techniques of educational technology, institutions offer a comprehensive curriculum that covers a wide array of subjects. Here are some courses to expect in an online master’s degree program in educational technology.

Foundations of Educational Technology. This provides students with an overview of the educational technology field. This includes its history, foundations, literature, and perspectives. In this way, students will have a deeper understanding of applications and find where their skills and interests fit within the discipline and practice.

Designing Technology-Rich Curriculum. The course introduces students to frameworks that leverage technology to enrich and remove barriers to learning, such as the IEP software used in special education. They are also expected to build their own toolkits to create hybrid or purely digital learning spaces for their current or future students.

Distance Teaching and Learning. Students are taught to explore synchronous and asynchronous interactive distance education. They will learn about the different perspectives in theory and in applications. Moreover, the course covers different types of online learning deployments from the K-12 classroom to professional training.

Technology for Learning and Communicating. This course focuses on teaching students and letting them explore the different types of technology that they can use for learning and communication. Students are also introduced to software and techniques that can help in teaching individuals with special needs.

Evaluation in Educational Technology. Students are introduced to evaluation techniques for educational programs. They are also taught to create evaluation plans to measure the effectiveness of various aspects of the deployment and implementation of educational technology.

We can also expect additional courses to be offered in the next few years. This is in line with the trend of the increase of global VC funding in 2020 brought about by the COVID pandemic. In the first half of 2020 alone, $4.5 billion was raised globally. This means new educational technologies are being developed and would be launched in the near future. This also makes educational technology a very exciting field to be in when it comes to expansion and rapid development.

Source: HolonIQ, 2020

Things to Look For in an Online Master’s Program in Educational Technology

The first thing that prospective students need to consider is the availability of an Online Master’s in Educational Technology Program in their area. Again, the usual accrediting bodies are the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) and the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE). However, most reputable schools are already accredited. It is just best to double-check.

When it comes to availability, one should keep in mind that there are schools that have in-person requirements. This is especially for courses that require some in-person teaching skills like blended learning. Moreover, there are also programs that require students to have first-hand experiences in applying what they learned to live learning environments.

In relation to this, you should also look into hidden costs for attending. In-person requirements in hybrid programs, which can cost a lot. This is especially if your program requires you to attend seminars, crash courses, or finish practicum assignments. Of course, you should also prepare to invest in software and hardware that you might need in these activities.

Another thing to consider is support services. This does not only include academic support services like library access. One should also look into the quality and size of their prospective institution’s network for research and employment. Top universities work together with industry leaders, research entities, and even the government. It is best to choose a school that can help you with both your research and employment needs after graduation.

Technology Is Ubiquitous

In the digital age, technology pervades everyday lives. We use it in ordering household supplies, meals, and in managing our finances. There is no indication that the use of digital technologies will go down in the future. In fact, it is central to interactive learning trends that we see in both academic education and professional training.

Educational technology will not only be something that augments traditional learning. All points indicate that it will be a requirement. It just might also be accepted as and, even, assimilated into traditional teacher’s education. So, earning your Master’s in Educational Technology will give you a headstart.

Moreover, it will not only be useful in an academic or training setting but also in a corporate setting. Think knowledge management, employee onboarding, and online content creation.

 

References:

  1. Affordable Colleges Online. (2021, May 19). Online master’s programs in educational technology. Affordable Colleges Online.
  2. Bates, A. W. (2015, April 5). 6.2 a short history of educational technology – Teaching in a digital age. BCcampus Open Publishing – Open Textbooks Adapted and Created by BC Faculty.
  3. Best College Reviews. (2021, April 27). What is an educational technology degree? Best College Reviews.
  4. BestColleges. (2021). Methodology of our school rankings. BestColleges.
  5. BestColleges. (2021, March 16). Best online master’s in educational technology programs of 2021. BestColleges.
  6. Dakota State University. (2021). Master of science in educational technology (MSET). DSU.
  7. Education Degree. (2021, April 21). Teacher salary with a master’s degree. Education Degree.
  8. Engel, C. J. (2020). The acceptability of online degrees for obtaining entry-level employment in the accounting profession: A Kansas study. Global Journal of Accounting and Finance, 4(1), 16-37. IGBR.
  9. Ferreras-Garcia, R., Ribas, C., Sales-Zaguirre, J., & Serradell-López, E. (2021). Competencies in business degrees: A face-to-face and online comparative study. Journal of Education for Business, 96(2), 71-81. Taylor and Francis.
  10. Gallagher, S. (2018). Educational credentials come of age. Northeastern College of Professional Studies.
  11. Gallagher, S., & Palmer, J. (2020, September 29). The pandemic pushed universities online. The change was long overdue. Harvard Business Review.
  12. Glassdoor. (2020, January 10). 15 More Companies That No Longer Require a Degree—Apply Now. Glassdoor.
  13. Wan, T. (2021, January 23). A record year amid a pandemic: US Edtech raises $2.2 billion in 2020. EdSurge.

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