by Claire Miller
Bob Little went into his senior year of high school with plans to become an engineer.
But his Advanced Placement Calculus teacher inspired him to consider taking his talents and putting them to use in the classroom.
“My teacher would oftentimes let us work together in groups and I really enjoyed working with the other students,” he said. “He would also let us go up to the board and work through homework problems, and I really enjoyed that.”
Little earned his bachelor’s degree in math education from Georgia State in December 2006 and has been teaching at Collins Hill High School in Gwinnett County since January 2007. In addition to teaching AP Calculus AB and Integrated Algebra 1 and coaching the school’s football team, he also serves as the Relay for Life coordinator, the school’s clubs and activities coordinator, and the math team coach.
So when Little started looking into master’s degree programs, an online degree program through Georgia OnMyLine seemed like a perfect fit for someone with such a busy schedule.
“There are a lot of master’s programs available to teachers, but the foundation I received at Georgia State was high quality and GSU was the only university in the state of Georgia that had an online math education master’s degree program,” he said. “With this online program, I have more time because I don’t have to drive to campus three days a week.”
Georgia OnMyLine (GOML) is a cross-collaboration among all 35 colleges and universities in the University System of Georgia that allows students to earn select degrees through online classes.
Georgia State’s Master of Education in Mathematics Education Online Program is designed to give secondary teachers a deeper understanding of math concepts. It mirrors the program offered on campus, with classes conducted in virtual classrooms and assignments submitted online.
Little will finish his degree this spring and appreciates how rigorous his classes have been throughout the program.
“This master’s program is not one in which you can skate by – you can’t just do the bare minimum because you’re not going to make it,” he said. “As a math teacher, I know that math isn’t something that everyone can waltz through. This program really challenges me and makes me think, which is what math is all about.”
He ultimately plans to earn his Ph.D. and hopes to review and develop curriculum in the future – a path the GOML master’s program has prepared him for.
“I want to get my doctorate and I wanted to make sure that I was in a master’s program that would prepare me for a doctoral program,” Little said. “Now I’m more versed on the current research on what works in a math classroom and how to do my own research in the future.”
For more information about the College of Education’s GOML programs, visit http://education.gsu.edu/main/Distance_Learning.htm.