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Distance-learning programs garner award for innovation
Drake’s School of Education recently won the 2009 Innovator Award from The Iowa Distance Learning Association.

The honor is given to individuals or organizations for contributions to distance learning through outstanding teaching, program design and development, advocacy, innovations in methods, technique and technology.

Dean Janet McMahill, Director of Extension Education Chuck Sengstock and Online Instructional Designer Jean Cross accepted the award during the annual IDLA conference on April 17 in Altoona, Iowa.

The school has been a leader in the field of distance learning for more than 15 years. It hosted one of the first classrooms for the Iowa Communication Network (ICN), which was the only telecommunications network of its kind in the nation at the time. 

Drake also was one of the first schools to pilot an online exchange program. In 2003, the University partnered with Drury University in Springfield, Mo., to allow enrolled students to take online courses from both universities. 

“Drake’s Extension Education Division was founded to coordinate the many distance learning courses and programs for students within Iowa, throughout the United States and in 11 countries,” McMahill said. 

“Today, the department offers graduate-level courses in online, video, ICN and traditional face-to-face formats,” she added. 

Last year, more than 14,000 students enrolled in courses through Extension Education. 

“Classroom teachers can use these courses for renewal of teaching certificates, advancement on local salary schedules, elective credit in graduate degree programs, personal growth and development or renewal of coaching skills,” Sengstock said.

In addition to these individual course opportunities, the school also offers full degree and certificate programs at several off-campus locations and through online and ICN courses. 

At a number of locations throughout the state, students also can work towards a: 
  • Master of Science in Education in Effective Teaching

  • Master of Science in Education in Education Leadership

  • Master of Science in Counseling 
In addition, classroom teachers can earn endorsements in the areas of: 
  • Gifted and Talented 

  • Middle School

  • Elementary Reading 

  • Secondary Reading
“By focusing on areas where students need additional support and by identifying new markets and technologies, we are positioning the school and Drake to grow its programs through satisfied and vocal students,” McMahill said, “as well as by changing with the trends of the market and economy.”

For more information on distance-learning programs, visit https://wwww.drake.edu/edex/.