Todd Boyer* teaches engineering design at a high school in Missouri—a job that requires him to stay current on technology advances and teaching and technology innovations.
*Todd is an actual FlexPath student compensated for sharing his experience
To that end, Boyer, who holds a bachelor’s degree in industrial technology and a master’s in educational technology, is always looking for ways to expand his knowledge base. In recent years, he has taken a wide variety of the free professional development courses for teachers offered by Capella University.
“I didn’t want a full program initially,” he explains. “I just wanted courses that would help me earn credit and further my knowledge.” When his wife’s friend shared some information on social media about classes she had taken at Capella, Boyer decided to take a look at the university’s website. The offerings impressed him: “It was like the information was jumping off the screen at me,” he recalls. “The programs were exactly what I was looking for.”
Certifications That Enhance Potential
Boyer saw their potential in professional development courses and completed and earned graduate credit in more than 15, including:
- Classroom Instruction Using an LMS
- Understanding Competency-Based Instruction
- Designing Instruction for the 21st Century Classroom
“I’m interested in furthering my own knowledge—learning for its own sake,” he says. “But I also know that, in teaching, it’s beneficial pay-wise to get as much experience and education as I can.”
Capella offers more than 20 free professional development courses for teachers, teacher leaders, and PD professionals.
Each course gave Boyer increased confidence in the classroom. It also gave him more ideas that he could use with his students immediately, enhancing his value as an instructor. “The information that was covered allowed me to apply my knowledge of engineering and graphics to education, teaching strategies, and theories of teaching.” Like pieces of a mosaic, the various courses contributed to Boyer’s efforts to become a more polished teacher.
Boyer hopes that adding professional development courses to his resume could open the door for opportunities beyond teaching, such as curriculum development specialist jobs or district technology coach openings. “I’m happy doing what I’m doing, but I wanted to take courses that would potentially allow me to market myself elsewhere in the education area,” he explains.
From Single Courses to a Second Master’s
Boyer liked his experience with Capella’s professional development courses so much that he recently decided to pursue a Master of Education via the FlexPath format. Many of his professional development courses, as well as credits from classes at another institution, were transferable to the program—making it possible for him to save both time and money, he says.
Boyer began his master’s work in July and hopes to complete his degree within a year. The self-paced nature of FlexPath appeals to him because it allows him to attend school without neglecting his job or family and still complete as many courses as he wants—up to two at a time—for a flat tuition fee.*
*Books, supplies, and other fees may apply
“I like that I can work around my family’s schedule,” he states. “But the biggest thing is the self-pacing—being able to start a course and finish it when it’s convenient to me.”
Boyer is excited that the coursework enhances his current classroom performance and he’s eager to see what the future holds once he’s finished with the program. “Some of the teaching strategies can be used right away, while other practices and methods allow me to plan for future assignments,” he says. “I benefit immediately by applying new theories and strategies in the classroom as I learn them in my program.”