Virtual Learning Resources at KU
Today's classrooms are more diverse than ever before, enriching students' experiences with the unique perspectives of their instructors and peers and challenging teachers to reach a wide variety of backgrounds, abilities and learning styles. At the same time, the rate of technological change has been accelerating with no sign of stopping throughout the world at large, a trend that manifests in classrooms across the country. In this exciting era of personalized learning and constant evolution, powerful new digital tools and techniques keep students engaged and help them succeed no matter where they're coming from.
KU prepares its students to succeed in this modern classroom environment by supporting our own online courses with powerful, easy-to-use, custom-built software.
Jayhawkville: Virtual School District
(For the online educational administration programs)
Graduates from our online programs may go on to teach or work in vastly different school environments around the country, so we’ve created a unique digital space that lets them experience the realities of working in varied educational spaces that may be urban, rural, racially diverse, wealthy, low-income and with varying levels of historical academic performance.
Jayhawkville helps prepare you for success with a hands-on virtual school district that simulates real-world scenarios distributed across more than 30 different schools. As you explore the Jayhawkville community and associated school district, you can view each school in depth and access information related to hiring policies, ethnographic and demographic data, number of students, performance on standardized tests, students eligible for free or reduced-price lunch, and more. Navigating each of these areas and completing focused assignments with the provided data will help you prepare to face the unique challenges of being an educational leader in your community and learn how to build solutions that work.
"Jayhawkville gives students multiple, diverse, applied educational experiences by which they can apply what they have learned in the program to a variety of 'real-world' educational situations within a virtual instruction setting."
-Joe Novak, senior lecturer, coordinator of the online master’s in educational administration program and director of KU's Professional Development School Program
What if I had a dynamic map that helped me understand the demographics of my school's community? What if I had a comprehensive set of data that helped me understand the academic performance of a class, of a school, of a school district? What if I had blueprints that helped me plan a new active learning environment, determine optimal class sizes, creative evacuation protocols? What if I had insights into what challenges previous leaders faced or what worked for them? What if I had a catalog of policies to reference while resolving complex or sensitive student issues? I do. Introducing Jayhawkville, a virtual school district made up of 30 unique schools, representing the nexus of content, data, scenarios and technology. A place where the next generation of effective school leaders prepare.
(For the master's and graduate certificate in reading education and reading specialist licensure endorsement programs)
The Reading Room is a unique virtual space, depicted as your own personal living space, where a bookcase of growing volumes reflects both your program texts and personally selected titles. As you work through the online master's degree, graduate certificate or licensure endorsement program in reading education, you will be asked to identify texts that are applicable to your work and that could be leveraged in the classroom; to each of these selections you will add a reflection that explores why you've chosen the specific text. As you grow your library, you will also unlock new opportunities to personalize your space with a variety of furnishings, artwork and certificates of accomplishment.
By tracking your academic accomplishments, the readings you've completed and your record of personal reflections, the Reading Room presents an opportunity to synthesize what you've learned and organize your thoughts for future reference. Each of your recommended texts and reflections will also become part of a communal library, which is accessible to all students in the online graduate reading education programs and lets you collaborate with and draw on the resources and experiences of the other educational professionals in your classes. At the same time, you will have access to the recommendations and reflections not only of your fellow classmates but also of all students who have completed the program before you.
(For the master's, graduate certificate and licensure endorsement in special education programs)
Educators work every day to understand and meet our students’ diverse needs. Doing so requires empathy and adaptability, and we need tools and strategies to strengthen those skills.
KU Special Education online coursework features comprehensive, persona-based case studies that reflect diverse populations within the school setting. Designed to provide contexts for hands-on problem-solving and peer discussions, they’re based on—and simulate—real people facing issues that children and teenagers encounter as they move from home to school and out into their communities.
Each unique narrative includes multimedia elements to convey a student’s likes, dislikes, strengths, challenges, attitudes, behaviors, and goals. The students presented in the case studies self-identify. They have voices, family members, friends, and community contacts. We see them across multiple dimensions and hear their stories from varied perspectives. Highlights include:
- Strengths and challenges
- Personality snapshots
- Family and teacher interviews
- Academic background
- Student data (IEPs, report cards, 504 accommodation plans, work samples, and more)
In multiple assignments, KU students review and respond to the students and situations presented in the case studies. They’re encouraged to apply their coursework-gained knowledge to real-world circumstances, developing skills in:
- Designs for learning
- Health contexts
This work encourages the creation of schools and other learning environments where all students can learn, thrive, and develop their abilities to the fullest extent possible.
Transition Competencies Portfolio
(For the master’s and graduate certificate in secondary special education and transition programs)
Students in the online master's in secondary special education and transition program will ground their studies in eight unique domains, each with a complementary set of competencies that are targeted and strengthened throughout each individual course. While the list of competencies is extensive, domains of study include:
- Transition planning
- Family involvement
- Secondary academic programs
- Community-referenced curricula and programs
- Career development
- Interagency collaboration
- Leadership and policy
As you progress through the program, you will be tasked with developing focused research projects, essays, learning plans and more that tie back to a specific transition-related issue, which you will have chosen as your primary topic of interest at the beginning of the program. Each of your deliverables will become a contribution to your online portfolio, and they will help you progress toward greater mastery of one or more competencies. You will also have the opportunity to request professor feedback on your performance in each competency, and you can track your progress from “Novice” to “Expert” in each of the program’s eight domains.
Your final portfolio for the program is presented as a standalone website, which you will design and organize, and which can be shared with current or potential employers as an indication of your strengths in the field of transition.