This was orginally published in Australian Teacher Magazine and EducationHQ.
Of course there are various options for people looking for new information and careers, however these are often taught on-campus, meaning students must put their income on hold.
Swinburne Online is one educational facility offering prospective students the opportunity to study when they want and how they want without sacrificing their job or time with their family.
Sheena O’Hare is the director of Teacher Education Programs at Swinburne Online. She believes the Master of Teaching (Primary) is an excellent option for people with an undergraduate degree in a different field who might want to apply those skills to a primary classroom or people who are seeking a career change.
“People have actually said to us that they’ve always wanted to be a teacher and never thought they would get the opportunity,” O’Hare says.
“Because this is an online degree, they’re getting an opportunity now that they’ve never had before.”
With Swinburne Online taking students regularly throughout the year, students are able to start the degree when it is most suitable for them. Additionally the workload is quite flexible with students taking between one and four units each semester.
O’Hare says some students will complete the degree in 18 months, with others who might have children doing “one unit over the Christmas break when the kids are at home and... two or three units when the kids are back at school".
As with all teaching degrees, there is a practical teaching component involved with students completing 80 days of professional placement over the duration of the degree. Students are only required to complete 20 days at a time and can spread these days to suit them.
Students also don’t miss out on the opportunity to study overseas, with the option to complete their placements internationally.
Students can be placed at schools in Bali or America, “anywhere they have an Australian curriculum", O’Hare tells Australian Teacher Magazine.
Over 680 students at Swinburne Online were placed during the last teaching period, and O’Hare credits that to their innovative placement method.
“We have made a very deliberate choice that our students approach schools and ... sell themselves to the school," she says.
One of the features of Swinburne Online is also what sets them apart from other online educators.
"We have several teams who do nothing but student support and other online providers... just don’t have the staff or the man power to manage that," O'Hare says.
While the masters degree is rigourous in its content, students don't have to write a thesis. Assessments are very similar to those taught on campus, varying from essays and reports, to podcasts and videos of a student teaching.
The next intake for students at Swinburne Online is in July.