Oklahoma Christian University and BloomBoard Announce Access to K–12 Computer Science Education Master’s Degree
January 28, 2022
EDMOND, OKLA. – Oklahoma Christian University (OC) and BloomBoard announced the availability of their first two fully accredited master’s degrees, Technology & Computer Science Education (TCS) and Curriculum & Instruction for K–12 educators nationwide. These innovative programs are supported by BloomBoard’s micro-credential-based learning approach.
Districts nationwide are scrambling to offer high-quality technology and computer science education at all grade levels. A shortage of qualified teachers is slowing those plans. This master’s program enables districts to support and promote their own teachers who want to build expertise in these instructional areas.
“Our collaborative partnership with BloomBoard allows us to offer school districts a meaningful way to both develop teachers and hold on to them,” said John deSteiguer, President of Oklahoma Christian University.
“Giving educators access to highly relevant graduate-level instruction at an affordable price also delivers on the mission of serving more students with quality teaching in the critical areas of technology and computer science.”
The online program focuses on the foundations of computer science and computational thinking across content areas. Initially, the program will offer a specialization in K–8th-grade computer science instruction. Concentrations in grades 6–12 computer science instruction, STEM education, and Robotics are in development. All coursework is aligned with the Computer Science Teachers Association’s (CSTA) standards and the ISTE Standards for Computer Science Educators.
This program’s micro-credential-based learning approach differs from most traditional graduate degree programs, as teachers learn by doing within their own classroom practices, working with their own students. Teachers can put their new knowledge to work immediately while they demonstrate their skills to earn the micro-credentials. Because micro-credentials have equivalency with semester hours of graduate-level credit, teachers can advance on their district’s salary schedule as they progress in these programs. By subsidizing these programs, districts show how much they value the quality and professionalism of trained educators–building the kind of environment where top talent flourishes.
Research suggests that integrating CS into K–12 education can help students better prepare for life after graduation. STEM graduates can earn 40% more than the typical college graduate.
However, access to CS education remains restricted throughout the country. Twenty-three states have adopted a policy to give all high school students access to CS courses, and of those, only 11 states offer all K–12 students access. In addition, fewer than 20% of CS bachelor’s degree recipients are women, while 10.1% are Latino and 8.9% are Black. Exposing students to computing before college is one step that could help diversify STEM professions.
“Computer science education shouldn’t be a luxury, but an essential part of every school district’s plan to prepare all students for the workforce,” said Pat Yongpradit, Chief Academic Officer for Code.org. “By teaching these skills to students, schools can work to fill a shortage of CS graduates and workers, increase the profession’s focus on equity and build skills that are expected of workers in nearly any profession.”
“Our partnership with Oklahoma Christian is an exciting opportunity to develop educators and impact students in a unique way while addressing a broader economic need,” said Sanford Kenyon, CEO of BloomBoard.
“Greater access to technology and computer science education in K–12 schools should facilitate a more diverse and skilled workforce. To get to that point, we need to start with developing teachers.”
The master’s program is composed of ten micro-credential-based courses (30 credit hours). Schools and school districts in the United States may leverage federal relief funding to pay for teacher enrollment. Oklahoma Christian University now welcomes nationwide applications for the program.
Oklahoma Christian University is a higher learning community that transforms lives for Christian faith, scholarship and service. OC is defined by the collective impact of many incredible individuals. OC students learn alongside masterful teachers and world-class experts. They are Oxford-trained theologians, NASA scientists and best-selling authors. OC is driven by missions – not just majors and believes everyone has an important significance to this world.
BloomBoard offers micro-credential advancement pathways for educators to meaningfully improve their instructional practice and accelerate both their careers and their compensation. Their learn-by-doing process allows teachers to demonstrate their abilities within their own classroom practices. BloomBoard partners with states, universities and districts to create planned roadmaps for advancing educators based on a system’s uniquely identified needs and gaps. They also offer programs directly to teachers, including the National Board Pre-Candidacy Program.
Featured image: Adam Winger, Unsplash.