USC Rossier wins national award for use of innovative methods


USC’s Rossier School of Education was recently awarded the Best Practices Award for Innovative Use of Technology for its online Master of Arts in Teaching program, which lets educators earn a master’s degree online.

Educating · The Rossier School of Education earned an award for innovation thanks to its new online masters degree program. - Scott Fairbanks | Daily Trojan

The prestigious award was presented by the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education and recognizes the innovative use of educational technology.

Karen Gallagher, dean of Rossier, said she was proud the school had earned the honor.

“We submitted work on MAT@USC, and when they looked at the technology and what we were doing with social networking they saw a combination of extraordinary use of multimedia,” she said. “There’s nothing like it.”

MAT@USC uses cutting-edge online technology to help train the next generation of teachers. The program utilizes online applications and incorporates interactive media.

Launched in June, the MAT@USC program is taught by full-time professors and is equipped with videos, chat rooms and lectures — all distributed online.

“It is very important that the program is seen as blended,” said Barbara Goen, the assistant dean for communications at Rossier. “There is the online program, but there is also hands-on course work. There are online lectures, but there is a human set of professors working to keep the program running.”

The program is a partnership between Rossier and 2tor Inc., a New York-based educational services company which provides the necessary technical aspect of the program and works to put the curriculum and material online.

Goen said she is pleased with how the program has grown in its first year and the national recognition it has earned.

“This is getting bigger all the time,” she said. “We have received wonderful feedback from students — a variety of students — from across the country.”

Gallagher said the award is recognition that USC has surpassed its peers in innovative teaching. Though she is pleased with the program as it is, she hopes the program will continue to grow.

“We’re not satisfied,” Gallagher said, noting that the school will continue to look at the program and find new and more innovative ways to improve it.