Online Innovation Grants Awarded to Emerging Media, Social Work

UGA poised to develop state’s first fully-online master’s degree in emerging media.

Athens, Ga. – The University of Georgia is taking initial steps towards developing the state’s first fully-online master’s degree in emerging media, as well as several innovative online graduate courses in social work. No other public university or college in the nation offers an online master’s degree in emerging media.

The development of online courses for potential graduate programs is made possible by a Online Course Innovation Grant offered by the Office of Online Learning and the UGA Graduate School.

The Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication and the School of Social Work are the first recipients of the grant designed for innovations in online learning designed to support continued development of high quality, innovative online graduate education at UGA. These two grant proposals were selected from 12 submissions based on their intended use of innovative technologies, student engagement, strength of proposed assessments to gauge learning outcomes, feedback and clarity, and anticipated project timelines.

Faculty will be supported through an intensive collaborative partnership with experts in the Office of Online Learning for quality instructional design, media creation, marketing, and online student services with course launch targeted for fall 2018.

“We are using a team-based model for both projects to leverage the nationally recognized expertise of our faculty with the strengths of our online learning staff,” said Stephen Balfour, director of the Office of Online Learning. “It is our intent to raise the bar on quality and innovative online degree programs and increase the spotlight on graduate education at UGA.”

“Online education is one of our major strategies for growing graduate education at the University of Georgia,” said Graduate School Dean Suzanne Barbour. “Many graduate students have jobs, families, and other commitments that prevent them from coming to campus for their education. Strong online programs are a way for us to reach and better serve these students.”

The School of Social Work will receive funding to develop four online courses that could be applied to support future development of a fully-online master’s degree over the next few years. The proposed four-course series includes three required courses (Human Behavior in the Social Environment; Foundation Social Work Practice with Individuals; Assessment and Psychopathology), and one elective course focused on Behavioral Methods in Social Work Practice.

The second grant will help the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication develop an online version of the master of arts in emerging media. This program is designed for students who wish to learn how to identify emerging media needs and solutions using innovative and interactive digital technology, develop content and applications, and strategically manage emerging media platforms to further personal career goals and the goals of their employers. Grady plans to develop nine required online courses to accompany an existing online required course and an online elective.

“The University of Georgia continues to look at ways to make high-quality academic programs  accessible for students,” said Rahul Shrivastav, UGA’s vice president for instruction. “By developing fully online master degree program in emerging media, we are working towards helping students earn advanced degrees that can provide a higher skill level and help graduates compete in the global marketplace. The benefits from these degrees can help them for a lifetime.”

Grant programs like this underscore the university’s commitment to the highest quality educational experience, both online and on campus, he added. The Online Graduate Course Innovation Grant program will continue to offer annual awards to support innovative development and improvement of online graduate education at UGA.

The Office of Online Learning is a unit of the Office of Instruction.