Online Curriculum Design Degree Programs
Curriculum and instruction design has emerged as an exciting new approach to educational development, especially in K-12 schools. The field has grown in part as a response to state and federal government programs mandating standards all public schools must meet. But Internet technology has also played a role, as teachers gather online to share curricula and ideas.
Curriculum Design: An Overview
Many school systems now employ curriculum designers to write and oversee the curriculum, seeking both a curriculum that meets state and federal standards and a way to measure students' performance. Curriculum designers do more than write lesson plans and syllabi; they use teaching and learning theories to create a curriculum tailored to a specific group of students' needs.
Curriculum developers evaluate a school's existing program, assess student performance, and recommend improvements. They implement the latest pedagogical research, creating new teaching methods and learning strategies to help students engage with the material and retain knowledge. They may develop procedures to make sure teachers are applying the curriculum successfully. And they review and recommend textbooks and other educational materials for use in the classroom.
Technology has added to the variety of teaching tools that curriculum designers are expected implement, including Web sites, multimedia, and CD-ROMs. Curriculum designers are responsible for training an organization's staff to use technical resources in the classroom.
Specific tasks include:
- Designing coursework (for traditional classrooms or, increasingly, online and distance learning programs)
- Training instructors
- Creating appropriate assessment formats and methods
- Evaluating learning materials
- Keeping up-to-date with instructional techniques and industry developments.
School systems expect curricula to meet local, state, and federal standards, such as those of the U.S. Department of Education and the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE).
Educational Background for a Curriculum Design Career
Curriculum designers are charged with developing strategies for training young minds. This requires in-depth training in education, psychology, curriculum development, and education administration. Coursework for curriculum design degrees also includes research design, instructor evaluation techniques, teacher support, and observation and analysis of teaching methods. Many curriculum designers specialize in a particular learning area, such as literacy, mathematics, or science.
Most employers require at least a master's degree in curriculum design or a related field, although some entry-level assistant positions are available with a bachelor's degree. Some states require a teaching or education administrator license in addition to the degree. Both bachelor's and graduate degrees are available online, offering a convenient way to transition into curriculum design while working full time.
Career Outlook for Curriculum Designers
In May 2007, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that curriculum designers earn a median salary of more than $58,070. Salary.com reports a somewhat higher 2008 average base salary of $61,109. Between 2006 and 2016, the job market for curriculum designers should grow about 22 percent, according to projections from the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Outlook Handbook.
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