Online Educational Technology Degree Covers Skills for Wide Range of Jobs

April 6, 2023  |  by Heidi Wells, Global Campus

The master's degree in educational technology offered online by the University of Arkansas prepares students for careers in a wide range of areas. Program graduate Jade Ayers works as a content designer in the corporate world and she can picture herself in the future possibly teaching in higher education. She previously taught public school and she knows – wherever she may go – education is her jam.

The Master of Education in educational technology typically takes less than two years to complete, depending on the number of courses a student takes each semester. It's offered 100% online, allowing students to continue working full time if they want and living in their communities wherever they are.

Careers of the program's graduates span K-12 schools, higher education institutions, businesses and nonprofit sectors with jobs in instructional design, distance education, training and development, and teacher education. Everything comes down to creating meaningful learning experiences that align with course objectives and assessments so that people of all ages gain skills regardless of where they work and study.


Online Learning

Jade Ayers
Jade Ayers

Ayers works on a team at Walmart corporate headquarters in Bentonville that designs content for leadership training serving 1.5 million people. The learning experiences range from 30- to 60-second "nano learning" sessions to in-person, multiple-day training for leadership. Previously, her only experience with online learning came when she took an online course while working on an associate's degree after high school. That changed when the COVID-19 pandemic began and she found herself teaching sixth-grade science online.

"We had to adjust quickly, sort of fly the plane while building it, as they say," Ayers recalled. "It was a lot of Zoom meetings, and I met a lot of pets and siblings."

When she began looking for a master's degree program, Ayers knew she wanted one that she could complete online. She wanted to learn more about teaching with technology. Still, it was challenging until she improved her time management and balance between work and home life.

"I took a leap of faith," Ayers said. "The first semester was a wake-up call. It was a little isolating at first but then we started making connections."

Most classes included projects that required a few students to work together, which resulted in increased communication and collaboration through Blackboard, the learning management system used by the U of A. Students were also required to record video blogs, which gave them a chance to see each other and get to know each other better, Ayers said.

The skills and knowledge she gained in the master's program have propelled her in her new career, she said.

"For us, it's about adult learners and motivation," she said. "We do a deep dive on cognitive load, designing courses with an understanding of the load our associates can take on and what motivates them. When you get the cognitive load right, learners can retain the information."

With many COVID restrictions lifted, Ayers' company will shift some training back to in person but keep a lot of it online so she has to design content that works both in person and online. It's important to make the content engaging, regardless of how it's delivered, she said.



Ayers said she would recommend the online educational technology master's program to prospective students.

"I love the program so much," she said. "I highly recommend it. It's really fun."

It's not just about pretty websites, either, Ayers said, although she laughed when she said she does know how to make websites look cool. Technology needs to be maximized for learning, she said, and the program helps open students' minds to possibilities.

"A co-worker described me as scrappy once," she said. "I think it means I'm resilient in working with what I have. I understand if I can't make an ideal, picturesque thing, I can use the pieces I have to find a way to make it work. I'm resourceful."

Ayers emphasized that communication with faculty members is vital for a student's success.

"I was astounded at their willingness to communicate," she said of the educational technology faculty members. "One time I emailed Dr. (Dennis) Beck at 5 a.m. and got a reply back within 10 minutes. They are willing to be flexible. If I didn't understand something, they would go beyond email and we could hop on Zoom. They understand everybody has a life outside school and we're working full time. If you stay in communication with them, they are so willing to work with you."


Learn More

The U of A offers 86 online degree programs and certificate and licensure plans, which are showcased on the U of A ONLINE website. These include bachelor's, master's, specialist's and doctoral degree programs from six academic colleges: the Dale Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food and Life Sciences; the Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences; the Sam M. Walton College of Business; the College of Education and Health Professions; the College of Engineering; and the School of Law.

Please visit the program page on our website to learn more about the Master of Education in educational technology, the curriculum, costs and admission requirements.

Photo of Heidi Wells

Heidi Wells

Content Strategist

Heidi Wells is the content strategist for the Global Campus at the University of Arkansas and editor of The Online Learner. Her writing spans more than 30 years as a communicator at the U of A and a reporter and editor at Arkansas newspapers. Wells earned two degrees from the U of A: a master's in 2013 and a bachelor's in 1988.

Wells can be reached at or 479-575-7239.

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Master of Education in Educational Technology

A degree in educational technology can open doors to careers in K-12 schools, higher education institutions, businesses or non-profit sectors. Online learning is growing nationally. It takes place at different stages of life and in different settings, from traditional classrooms to adult training environments.

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