1. Trying to decide whether this is the right time for me to start a master s program

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1 The following is entire anonymous data from a survey of technology education master s program advisors only edited here by removing identifying information; it was summarized in the following article and presentation: Lazaros, E., & Flowers, J. (2014). Keys to succeeding in a master s program: Advice from 21 technology education graduate advisors / faculty. Technology and Engineering Teacher, 73(5), Flowers, J. (2014, March). Technology education master s program advisors recommendations. Paper presented at the meeting of the Council on Technology and Engineering Teacher Education, Orlando, FL. 1. Trying to decide whether this is the right time for me to start a master s program Most of our students are working adults with the average age of 40. Determining your goals for coming to graduate school will help us help you determine if and how our program fits your goals. Any time after completion of a bachelors degree is right to begin study at the masters level. Students from have enrolled in our program. The important quality is a desire to learn and explore some facet of life in a more in depth way. It is always the right time! Realistically, a graduate program consistently will require a minimum of 20 hours per week of work, so whether or not it is possible to commit that amount of time is an important consideration. Contact faculty at that university to discuss your current situation and future career goals. The graduate program assists teachers to advance their knowledge, application, and evaluation of instructional techniques, materials, development, organization and assessment. Have established professional goals to make an advanced degree your top priority. Your success in a program is directly related to your level of dedication to the educational experience. Investigate your short term and log term personal and professional goals. Then, consider the following questions: Why do I want to pursue a graduate degree? Self fulfillment and improvement? A quest for knowledge? Increased earning potential? When reflecting on all of these areas, see how your graduate degree plans align with your short term and long term career goals. The time may be NOW, or there may be other personal and career goals that may need to be addressed first. Although your first year of teaching is busy and challenging, begin as close to finishing your undergrad as possible. First, you will still be in the study mindset. Second, it is often required for continued certification. Thirdly, it should help you develop professionally, and may increase your salary. And finally, you may have more time early on before other parts of your life (e.g. family committments) become more demanding. There is a six year window to complete a Master's degree, so it is necessary to time initiating the program so that the degree can be completed within this window. Also, online courses do require time commitments so it is essential to choose a period during which time is sufficient for study and completion of activities. Is education in your future, have you thought about the service needed as a teacher of technology education. If not, seek a way to observe what technology teachers do in the school. This really depends on the candidate. There is no single answer to this question. All of our candiates arrive under different circumstances This is a person question that only an individual can answer. We find success here with students that go straight from BS to Masters, and those with 3 or more years of experience in the field.

2 Contact [identifying information deleted] Two thoughts: 1. If economics is not a major issue, beginning a master's program immediately after the bachelor's program is a good thing since candidates are in the student frame of mind and preparing lesson plans and work schedules is not a consideration; however, 2. Beginning a master's program after having taught gives the candidate some experience to bring into the program. Since NYS requires the masters degree for professional certification to be completed within five years, earning the degree while teaching creates more hardship and stress on many candidates. The right time is different for each individual. If you have a technology background and are looking to pursue a new career in education, the MS would be a good choice. / / I would recommend you complete course work to meet certification requirements first so you can get a teaching job. In some of the rural districts, it is easier to get a job if you have not completed the MS degree, because they can hire you cheaper without it. Once you are hired into the district, complete your MS so you can move over on the salary schedule. Are you ready to improve your teaching skills with researched based methods? For many people the best time to start graduate school is during those transitional periods that come about because of changes in their professional or personal life. Whether looking for a change of direction or for a refocus of ones interests, graduate school can be the first step toward an enriching and fulfilling career as a professional educator. Can this program help advance your career goals and/or upgrade your skills?

3 2. Choosing which program and institution is the best fit for me Our program is offered in an asynrounous format. There are some scholarships avaliable including graduate assistantships. Determining your goals for coming to graduate school will help us help you determine if and how our program fits your goals. Personality and accommodation are important. Does your gut feeling about the staff indicate that it will be a good match with your goals and values? Are staff members responsive to your educational needs and aspirations? We only offer one Technolhgy Education Graduate program Talk to faculty and students in the program and graduates of the program to get a "feel" for the program and decide if you feel comfortable with the program. Contact faculty at that university to discuss your current situation and future career goals. Consider campus location, living and tuition costs, and assistantships available. This program is "teacher focused." It is unique in that it allows educators the opportunity to complete multiple K 12 endorsements while completing the MAEd. degree online. Select a program that provides the curriculum and services to help you meet your professional and personal goals. Do not select a program based only on convenience, tuition costs, or how long it will take. I believe this is an individual consideration depending on one's goals and drive, the level and type of degree institution (Research One, Comprehensive, Private vs. Public, etc.), current personal and professional commitments, flexibility, personal expectations, and financial means. Speak personally with faculty, not relying solely on s or other "less rich" forms of communication. Schedule a meeting with department faculty, tour the campus, and visit with other graduate students. Even if you are going to be an "online student" a campus visit will shed insight into what the institution represents. It may help students visualize where their peers' face to face sessions are meeting, what the Library/other campus resources offer, etc. A variety of issues may affect your decision, such as how soon you can start, length of program, costs, course titles and descriptions, and the institution. However, be sure to talk to students who have been in the program to see if it matches your needs professionally. Seek out programs with the best format to meet your needs. Many online programs are synchronous, requiring availability at specific times and days or may have requirements to visit campus occasionally, while others are asynchronous allowing participants to have more flexibility for when one participates with no requirements for visiting a campus. Some programs allow for useful interactions between students and with the instructor, while others are primarily independent learning with little or no interaction with others. When you inquire about a program, try to assertain how available the professors will be for advisement and extra instruction and guidance. The main thing you need in graduate school is available professors; interaction with them and engagement. Select the university has a strong group of faculty that are interested and focused on the teaching and learning process. interests This program is disigned to directly address national standards and state licensure standards and is not a generic program This can be geographically made and typically is, but we are one of the few institutions left that offer all levels and with enough faculty to work with as a full time student. We have a total of 10 faculty that can work with students directly in our field and opportunities for research assistantships as well. I find that the best "fit" is to take the time to visit each program and talk to the faculty. Contact [identifying information deleted]

4 NYS requires the masters to be taken in the area of initial certification or a related field and has those broad fields identified on the NYS Education Department web site. For candidates too far from an accredited program in technology education, the on line degree is the best option with the caveat that careful investigation should be made to ensure acceptance by NYSED. In determining best fit, you need to look at your interest. If you are more interested in research, consider a research orient institution. If you are primarily interested in teaching, you may want to look at an university that emphisizes teaching mor than research. Quality, cost, convenience Do your homework about the characteristics of the institution and the programs. Graduate studies should be about challenging yourself and that may require you to go into a program that is outside of your comfort zone. Will the program help advance your career goals? Are the courses offered so they fit your schedule? Is the program affordable? Are the faculty highly qualified?

5 3. Making application to graduate school On line Make face to face contact in person or electronically and engage in dialog prior to applying. Make sure it is complete Look carefully at what is required to make certain that you meet the qualifications, and take any written essay and/or interviews very seriously. Start your application early and follow the guidelines. Study for the entrance exam. The EKU Graduate School URL: apply#how to apply graduateprograms Start early and give yourself enough time. Investigate the application process and requirements the semester before you would like to begin. Complete all application materials well in advance to provide enough time for review and acceptance before classes begin. Carefully read The Graduate Catalog and determine that institution's policies, procedures, and schedule. When do they accept graduate student applications? When do they admit graduate students? What are the entrance requirements for the institution's graduate school AND the program you wish to pursue (they could be separate). What are the requirements for the application packet? What are the costs associated with the application process? Most online programs have online application processes, which are typically easy to navigate. However, if you can communicate personally with the program coordinator you can obtain additional information that may be important to your decision process. Fully online programs normally allow students to also apply for admission online and not require phone or live contact to pursue admissions. Some programs may require mailing applications or phone/ contacts to pursue admission status. Make your application by the February prior to the fall semester in which you wish to enroll. That will give the institution time to find tuition support should you need it. Make sure the application process is not held up by tardy references. Conduct an online search of universities that have programs in technology education, sometimes these programs are within Career and Technical Education, Workforce Education, or some other configuration. You may need to do some hard searching. Meet with a program advisor first Do well as you can on the GRE and make sure your references know you well for areas related to graduate education. Your written sample has a lot of weight and so do your experiences. Contact [identifying information deleted] Investigate schools carefully and apply only to those that highly interest you. Application fees vary and can be expensive particularly if the candidate is inclined to "shop around." In making application to graduate school, I recommend appoaching it as if you were making application for a job you really want. Pay close attention to details and provide professional level correspondence, etc. / / If you are still an undegraduate and looking ahead, try to maintain a solid GPA and take advatage of professional development opportunities (e.g., conference particpation; active member in student organizations, etc.) Follow all the directions. Follow up that every thing has been received, especially ranscripts and reference letters. Are applications accepted electronically?

6 4. Succeeding as a graduate student Time management Work hard, value the environment, and enjoy the opportunity. We will advise you on blalancing work and school Recognize that the engagement with content must occur at a deeper level than in your undergraduate work. Budget your time. Work closely with your adviser and graduate committee. Follow graduate school guidelines and posted timelines. EKU works hard at recruiting an d retaining both traditional and non traditional students, both through its on campus and online programs. Each student (both on campus and online) is assigned an enrollment advisor and a faculty advisor to aid student success. Establishing personal and professional goals that make your graduate program a priority. Get involved as much as possible with your faculty, other graduate students, and support staff of the program/university. Even if you are an online student, personal contact and support is key. If online courses don't offer collaboration among students, request this from your instructors. Establish "virtual" study groups if you aren't on campus. Video chat regularly. Many current faculty may tell you when they were graduate students they learned more in the hallways OUTSIDE of class than inside the classroom. While on the surface online instruction may not offer the same interaction, it CAN if we work at it. Also, for totally online degree programs, consider a "personal residency" of one semester (summers, etc.) on campus where you take an extended vacation to campus for a summer course to increase interaction among other students and faculty. In two words, time management. Do not wait for deadlines to complete your work, be pro active. Do not hesitate to commuinicate with your course instructors, they do realize you are busy with your professional and personal lives, and realize situations do crop up. Online education is both challenging and rewarding. Success often depends on good organizational skills and a dedication to task associated to the programs. Staying current with online classes is essential to be highly effective and successful. To succeed, you need to engage your professors on a regular basis. Ask family members to take up the slack around the house so that you can concentrate and be prompt. To performa well, you should expect to give up some other things, such as choir practice, coaching, and other elective service. Connect with your advisor and be dedicated to your studies. focus engage deeply in the program Take time to study, and if you can, go full time on campus. Contact [identifying information deleted] Be prepared to read, read, read, and write, write, write. Graduate schools generally require much more reading, research, and writing than undergraduate programs and unidentified poor literacy skills are very often the outcome. Practice good time management, and devote sufficient time to study and completing graduate projects.continually work on improving your performance. Be a part of a study group and collaborate with peers in studying, etc. Develop today's 21st Century skills set, which includes teamwork, collaboration, creativity, critical thinking, and the other 21st Century applied skills. If you are not strong in writing, consider picking up an undergraduate course in Technical Writing, early in your graduate program. It will be anextra undergraduate course, but it may prove very beneficial as you progress through your program.. Pay attention to details. Follow your interests.

7 Get into a cohort of peers to select as many courses together as possible. Working with a group of your peers provides the academic and emotional support system that will make graduate studies a positive experience that will stay with you for a lifetime. Do you have enough time to attend classes and complete outside work? Will you have contact with multiple faculty and the ability to work with them on professional activities such as publications and presentations?

8 5. Conducting master s level research Focus and application in the real world Plan ahead, allot appropriate time, and be diligent! It can be difficult but, we will show the correct techniques to conduct successful reasearch at this level. Be prepared to be doing lots of things simultaneously, and also feeling a little out of one's depth on most of them. That's normal, and a good advisor will help you get through it all. Be realistic in your expectations. Get writing and statistical help if needed. Make sure to publish your results. The MAEd. program utilizes a Capstone Action Research Project in lieu of a thesis. All programs require slightly different research requirements. However, statistical analysis is common among all studies and understanding basic statistics and analysis techniques are essential. Additionally, select a topic you would consider your "passion" and have a deep desire to understand more completely. Take your Research Methods course as early in your program as possible. Accept the responsibility that a graduate degree IS a research degree, even at the master's level. Don't view research as a burden or requirement. Rather, consider it a responsibility to your field and an opportunity for yourself. Embrace this opportunity and work closely with your faculty and peer graduate students and glean everything you possibly can from them. Your degree program may progress quicker than you imagined, and serious, professional students often times relate they wish they could go back and learn more. Early in your graduate career, establish a research agenda where all of your term papers, class assignments, and faculty interactions build this agenda. Before you realize it, research ideas and opportunities will surface from many different places. Don't forget to pursue joint research with your faculty and peer graduate students. Do exhaustive literature reviews prior to developing your proposals as well as during your research. Report what you discover, not what you percieve to have discovered. Be organized and succinct, and do not be afraid to share your work with the professional community. Those intending to pursue terminal degrees such as Ph.D. or Ed.D. should seriously consider pursuing a research option in a Master's Degree Program. This is useful experience and preparation prior to beginning work on a doctoral dissertation. There are a number of options one can consider based on long term objectives related to future research. Being thorough is the most important thing. Conduct complete literature reviews, and work with your advisor or chair to carefully design your methodology. You should start working on possible topics as soon as you start your course work. If you have a research assistantship, then consider designing your own research project to compliment the research being conducted by your supervisor. Talk with you advisor and attempt to connect your research with the focus area of your advisor. Work closely with your committee chair and conduct research that is important to the profession Get you basics of research methods and statistics early enough in your career as as graduate student to know whether or not research is what you want to do. Contact [identifying information deleted] Technology education does not have enough published research therefore the master's candidate should take advantage of the opportunity to write, and get published, material that will help him or her but also help the field. With the current vision of technology education's role in areas such as STEM, research and publishing opportunities abound. If possible, find a research mentor and learn from them. Assit them on projects. Learn to recognize quality research and study the methodologies associated with it. Replicate the qualities of good

9 research and avoid the mistakes of mediocre or poor research. Do something that is meaningful to you and to students. Explore big ideas as much as possible in the early stages of your graduate studies. Then start to focus on one topic and use every opportunity possible to build up your knowledge base on the topic and to establish a network of references. Are you able to identify areas of needed research? Can you organize and complete a research study in a timely manner? Are you able to apply research in educational settings?

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