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Laura Mucha* spent four years working as a middle school intervention specialist after graduating with a bachelor’s degree.
Passionate about her work and the difference it could make, she wanted to go further and get a master’s degree, but worried that trying to balance a traditional master’s program with an already-demanding full-time job would be impossible.
Then she learned about Capella University’s then-new MEd degree via its groundbreaking FlexPath learning format. As education continually changes with technology, Capella’s MEd was designed to provide teachers with the advanced skills to help them meet tech-savvy students where they are.
“I always wanted to go back, but I needed so much flexibility,” Mucha says. “My life has so many moving parts and pieces. I couldn’t see how I could work on a degree that had a rigid schedule.”
Mucha was excited—and nervous. “It was scary at first,” she recalls. “It was a newer format for the MEd, so I couldn’t see what previous generations of graduates thought about it. But I loved the fact that I could do things on my time, at my location, when and wherever that was.”
Mucha enrolled and began her degree program in September 2017, and right away she knew she’d made the right choice. “Everyone at Capella was so communicative and so positive,” she says. “My coach was phenomenal. And they were able to help me tailor my program for the kind of work I do. They really helped me develop a plan that I could use in my classroom.”
A highly-motivated student, Mucha completed her degree quickly, helping her maximize her learning and minimize her costs. The MEd FlexPath option allows students to accelerate through material they already know and spend more time focusing on what they don’t know.
Even better, she started applying what she learned right away, as students in this program can use what they’re doing in the classroom and submit it as an assignment. “I really made strides helping my students improve their writing skills using techniques I learned at Capella,” she says. “I’d even tell my students, ‘Hey, in grad school today, I learned this.’ I think it was inspiring for them too.” She found her courses invigorating, rigorous, and exactly what she was looking for.
Earning the degree helped open doors for new professional possibilities, Mucha says. “I’m now co-teaching with a team of teachers at the high school level, developing a new structure to ensure students requiring special education receive all instruction in the regular classroom with the rest of their peers.”
Asked if she had advice for incoming MEd FlexPath students, Mucha says: “People need to be good at setting goals and being self-motivated. You’re in charge. You have to be good at setting and sticking to your own deadlines to maintain the pace you want. I set aside time every day that was strictly grad school time. Life gets busy quickly, so it’s good to be prepared.”
Even though it was a commitment of time and energy, Mucha is thrilled with the outcome, and glad that she happened to look for a master’s program just as Capella was launching the FlexPath version of the MEd. “I’m really glad Capella is approaching education this way,” she says. “This was cutting edge, so innovative. Competency-based education is absolutely the direction the education world is moving towards; I love that Capella is on the forefront of this movement.”
Asked if she was considering the possibility of a doctorate someday, she laughs and says, “I already told Capella that once they have their PhD program in education available through FlexPath, they should call me right away!”
Learn more about Capella University’s online MEd program.
*Actual Capella graduate who agreed to appear in promotional materials for Capella.