Traditional students drawn to nontraditional education program

Members of the College of Education Family and Human Services team

A College of Education program aimed at helping nontraditional students become Head Start teachers is finding a new audience among the university’s traditional students.

The Early Childhood Emphasis program, which is part of the college’s Family and Human Services department, is a hybrid, online program that helps Head Start teachers earn a bachelor’s degree. A law passed in 2007 requires that half of the teachers in Head Start programs have a bachelor’s or higher degree.

While the program was aimed at working teachers, allowing them to study and graduate from the program while continuing to work, it has also found unexpected popularity among the UO’s resident students. Part of that is a growing interest in early childhood education and part is the attractive hybrid format that offers flexibility for students who work or have families.

Students meet weekly online with classmates and a professor, perform most coursework on their own time and meet in-person just twice per term. Obaworld, learning management software created by the college’s Global and Online Education group, provides an easy-to-use platform.

"It’s very interactive," said program coordinator Kathy Moxley-South. "You can create a sense of online community through discussion boards and virtual tools, as well as the approximately 28 hours they spend together during the weekend classes."

For a complete story, see “Early childhood emphasis shifting from non-traditional to traditional students” on the College of Education website.