Flexibility: You Requested It, We Delivered It
When MLC established its master’s program in 2004, teachers told us that one factor was imperative: flexibility. Because their time was limited, they needed a program that fit their schedule. Meaningful learning requires time and energy, and a high-quality accredited graduate program must meet certain expectations. So while we couldn’t reduce the time needed to earn a degree, what we could do was infuse our program with flexibility so that teachers could make it work with their busy schedules.
- Semester length: Fall and spring courses are spread over an entire semester to allow for reasonable pacing. Teachers have told us they prefer the semester-long schedule over a shorter 8-week schedule, which sometimes crams so much information into such a short time that it’s difficult for students to meet their own performance expectations.
- Assignments: Instructors schedule most class discussions and assignments over weekends. That way, busy teachers can plan their studies around classroom and family duties.
- Course scheduling: We put the learners in charge of deciding when they can take courses. They best know when they need to take semesters off, how many courses they can manage in a semester, how quickly (24 months) or how leisurely (7 years) their program needs to be completed, and whether a summers-only schedule works best. Our master’s students can take up to two years off without penalty, allowing them to accept calls, change grade levels or duties, concentrate on other ministry responsibilities, or attend to family matters.
- Online format: The online format enables teachers to access course materials, participate in class discussions, and submit assignments on the days and times that work for them. A Saturday night at 11 pm? Fine. A Tuesday morning at 5 am? That works too. The online format allows teachers to raise their families, work in their classrooms, evaluate their students’ work, coach sports, and attend meetings—and still engage in meaningful learning.
While MLC master’s students expect that taking graduate level courses and earning a master’s degree takes time and energy, they are grateful that MLC has put together a program that helps them prioritize what is most important to them—their families and their ministries.