M.Ed. In Differentiated Instruction - Master of Education Online

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Graceland University is proud to offer an online M.Ed. in differentiated instruction based on the work of Dr. Carol Ann Tomlinson. Dr. Tomlinson, who appears as a video instructor in several of the program’s courses, is a world-renowned expert in differentiated instruction and assessment strategies and techniques. Dr. Tomlinson is author of The Differentiated Classroom: Responding to the Needs of All Learners, How to Differentiate Instruction in Mixed-Ability Classrooms and Fulfilling the Promise of the Differentiated Classroom: Strategies and Tools for Responsive Teaching.


Also featured in the differentiated instruction online program is Dr. William Glasser, author of several books on education including Choice Theory, The Quality School and Every Student Can Succeed. Dr. Glasser’s educational approach fosters instructional approaches like differentiated instruction examples that meet student’s individual needs and strengths.

This is the first Master of Education program to combine the ideas of Tomlinson's differentiated instruction and Glasser's concepts into a comprehensive course of study to help teachers meet the needs of an increasingly diverse student population within the context of today’s challenging standards-based curriculum.

Strategies for differentiated instruction covered in the master’s program include: pre-assessment of learning styles and preferences, monitoring and managing student learning, modifying lessons based on student readiness, tiered instruction, flexible grouping and authentic assessment. The program is open to all certificated K – 12 teachers who are currently teaching. The program is video- and online-based and there are no residency requirements.

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DI Lead Instructor Debbie Leialoha, Ph.D.A word from our DI Lead Instructor, Debbi Leialoha, Ph.D. Program Chair M.Ed Differentiated Instruction Emphasis

Creating and facilitating delivery of our online education programs has been my major focus during my sojourn here at Graceland University. I arrived at Graceland after being a K-12 educator in both special and general education settings for 24 years. As Program Chair of the Differentiated Instruction (DI) emphasis, it is exciting to meet a cross section of our nation’s teachers and have the opportunity to interface with their practice. I can well remember the struggles I experienced having a wide range of students with varied abilities and interests. It was challenging to meet the learning needs of all my students.

Differentiated instruction is a teaching model in which teachers proactively modify curriculum, instruction and assessment to address the needs of individual students and/or small groups of students to maximize the learning opportunities for each student in the classroom. Adjusting content, process and products in light of a student’s readiness, interests and learning profile allows teaching to start where the kids are! Graceland’s M.Ed in Differentiated Instruction offers you to hear first-hand (through our DVD materials) the expertise and guidance of Dr. Carol Ann Tomlinson, the ultimate guru on this topic.

Dr. Tomlinson poses three questions when thinking about how to differentiate instruction: What is the teacher differentiating? How is the teacher differentiating? Why is the teacher differentiating?

Whether you have struggling or advanced learners in your classroom, learning is maximized when knowledge is organized, students are involved in the learning process, assessments are robust and varied, and students feel their basic needs are being met.

Will the students who fill your classroom seats be accepted from his or her point of entry into the curriculum? Will you understand and respond to the idea that our students need us in different ways? The promotion of a successful classroom is an admirable goal that will take the endeavors of all stakeholders. One of the most satisfying elements of facilitating courses in this program is the opportunity to dialogue with teachers, such as you, about teaching and learning.

What can this degree do for you? Our graduate faculty keeps a strong connection with our alumni. We frequently hear from our educators that not only has their knowledge enriched their own practice, but also of their school colleagues. Would you like to learn more? I would look forward to corresponding with you. I can be reached at leialoha@graceland.edu.


Program Benefits

  • Convenient: Study at home or school
  • Affordable: Priced to fit an educator’s budget
  • Valuable: Use this fully accredited degree for career advancement
  • Enjoyable: View video(DVD) of master teachers applying course content in real classrooms
  • Rewarding: Apply what you have learned to help all your students succeed
  • Collaborative: Share the excitement of learning with your faculty mentor and colleagues

Program Delivery

During a two-year period, a cohort of teachers will participate in 30 semester hours of continuously sequenced course work.

Courses are listed below. Choose the Course Descriptions link in the right column to view complete descriptions for all courses.

Differentiated Instruction

EDUC5130 Introduction to Choice Theory: Teaching Students Responsible Behavior 3 s.h.
EDUC5140 Creating a Professional Portfolio: Program Capstone Project 3 s.h.
EDUC5150 Motivation and Learning: Co-Operation and the Quality Classroom 3 s.h.
EDUC5270 Classoom Management: Dealing with Discipline Problems 3 s.h.
EDUC5300 Gaining Parental Support: Building Home-School Relationships 3 s.h.
EDUC5500 Making Learning Meaningful: Every Student Can Succeed 3 s.h.
EDUC5660 Introduction to Differentiation: Applying Learner-Centered Instruction 3 s.h.
EDUC5670 Differentiated Instructional Strategies: Meeting the Diverse Needs of Learners 3 s.h.
EDUC5680 Differentiated Assessment Strategies: Identifying Learners' Strengths and Needs 3 s.h.
EDUC5690 Teaching in the Inclusive Classroom: Instructional Strategies for All Students 3 s.h.

Candidates may transfer two (3 s.h.) Differentiated Instruction/Management video seminars offered by Quality Educational Programs course work into the program or one (3 s.h.) video seminar and the Glasser Institute Training.  The Glasser Institute Training will waive EDUC5130. A video transfer grade of C or higher will be accepted. Transfer credit documentation must be received at the time of admission.  No transfer credit will be accepted for the Collaborative Learning and Teaching, Technology Integration or Mild/Moderate Special Education degrees.