Before the accolades, before the recognition, there are countless hours of hard work dedicated to the pursuit of a goal. For the UF College of Education, the vision is simple: transform education to strengthen society. This is ingrained in all that we do. We believe in the power of education and seek to advance its practices to shape the next generation of educators.

Whether we are serving students from the desks of our lecture halls or virtually from the comfort of their homes, we strive to provide the most enriching student experience to all. By cultivating connections, diversifying opportunities and aiming high in our endeavors, the college continues to remain in the top ranks nationally. Most recently, the college was named No. 1 in the nation for online graduate education programs in 2019 by U.S. News & World Report.

Dynamics in teaching and learning

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to education. As educators differ in their teaching approaches, students differ in their learning styles. With such variety in teaching and learning practices, the goal becomes finding common ground to build upon. Successful instruction is driven by discovering the strategies, tools and methods proven to effectively engage all types of learners across mediums.

While learning has traditionally taken place in the classroom, online learning is an increasingly more commonplace setting to pursue higher education. No longer must students and teachers come together at a physical place and hour for learning to occur. With access to a computer and high-speed internet connection, specialized programs are available at anyone’s fingertips. While overall enrollment at postsecondary institutions is down, student enrollment in online courses has risen.

With the growing pursuit of online education, an overwhelming supply of advertisements for online programs has followed. While the paths to continued education and improved career outlook seem vast and the options abundant, not all are created equal.

You can’t just film a lecture and call it a day

Pursuing higher education online brings with it many benefits. Online programs serve as a great equalizer in access to education and provide the flexibility essential to balancing the pursuit of an academic degree with the responsibilities of daily life, something many need to succeed. But concerns surround the capabilities of online programs to facilitate learning and foster meaningful connections between students, peers and instructors. With this concern comes the need for clear distinctions among institutions to identify those that invest in the quality and validity of their programs and those that do not.

At the college, Jason Arnold, director of E-Learning, Technology and Communications Services, has led the development of our online learning programs. Consistently, the college has ranked in the upper echelon for quality and preparedness. We have remained in the top-two in the nation consecutively for four years in the U.S. News and World Report Rankings earning the No. 1 spot three years – and we continuously stand as the state’s best education college. Among the collection of UF’s distance learning graduate programs, education is the highest ranked online field of study in the U.S. News survey.

Informed by the latest research in online pedagogy and web-based teaching, the Instructional Design team ensures the quality of face-to-face instruction translates to the online format. Courses are individually customized and adapted alongside professors to achieve the same caliber of comprehension as face-to-face courses, if not better.