Master of Arts

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

How long will it take me to complete the program?

Most students complete the program within 2-3 years.

How often are courses offered?

Courses are usually offered every semester including summers.

Can I enroll as a part-time student?


Are the courses synchronous or asynchronous?

We strongly believe that learning is a social endeavor. As a result, we create opportunities throughout our courses for you to interact with colleagues via synchronous online sessions. Small and whole group discussions, coaching, group presentations, guided web tours, document sharing and formative assessment through polling are just a few of the social learning features that support your learning.

What are the requirements for attendance?

Advanced notification of the days and times of these required sessions is provided in Oasis when you register (Online MA in Reading or Reading Endorsement) and again in the course syllabus. If for some reason you are unable to attend a session, please contact your instructor. Even though whole group discussions can be recorded, your absence from a session means your voice is missing from the learning environment. Discussions taking place in small group “break-out sessions” are not recordable. Additionally, your absence from both small and whole group sessions means you miss out on the organic learning opportunity afforded by discussion of course-related ideas and themes. Professors require your full participation for the entire session in order to receive credit for participation. Specifics may vary for each course.

Do I need to be a practicing teacher?

No, but most courses require students to interact with a literacy learner (preK-adult) for the purposes of developing expertise. It is helpful to identify a population of participants with whom you can work in schools or outside of school settings.

What computer hardware do I need to be successful in the program?

We use current devices, apps, and digital resources to teach our courses. Therefore, students must have an updated computer with an operating system that is less than 2 years old. We strongly encourage the use of Mac computers. Students should also have access to an iPad or tablet.

Students must purchase Explain Everything: A Collaborative and Interactive Whiteboard App that will allow students to create explanation videos of teaching and enable students to teach and present to the class.

Students must also purchase a Chalk & Wire access code from the USF Bookstore. Chalk & Wire is an assessment system in which we monitor each student’s completion of specific course assignments. Per the instructor’s direction, student will upload assignments to Chalk & Wire to meet requirements for specific courses.

What basic computer competencies do I need to be successful in the program?

Students will be required to create and upload video and images, participate in online discussions, post digital media, and navigate websites, apps, and Canvas tools. You will be expected to have access to and be able to work in word processing programs, presentation software, spreadsheets, and digital media creation and video editing. Additionally, you should be familiar with basic operations in the online environment as well as Canvas, the USF Course Management System. Throughout the program you will be expected to develop additional technical knowledge as it relates to the acquisition of media literacy skills.

How can I participate in synchronous courses if I'm located in another time zone?

Each instructor will provide accommodations for students who live in another time zone. For example, some faculty may record the course session and require alternative forms of participation. Others may ask you to submit comments and questions prior to the synchronous session.

Will I ever have to travel to the USF campus?

No, you will not have to travel to the Tampa campus for coursework. All coursework is online. No one from this program will require you to travel to campus.

I’m nervous about online classes, can I do this?

Yes. If you can search the Internet and upload photos and movies, you can be successful in this program. You need to be open to exploring technology, playing with media, and creating texts in different forms. Of course, your skills will advance over time, but we will guide you through the media as a tool for learning. Please visit the New Media Literacies website for specific information about characteristics for online learning.

Is this program primarily for elementary teachers?

No. Prior to the 1980’s, the field of reading was focused on early literacy. However, over the last 30 years, our understanding of literacy has changed to reflect the ways in which literacy develops across the lifespan. Job positions have also changed in that most high schools and community colleges have reading and writing programs that require expert teachers with advanced degrees in literacy education. Furthermore, the Plan III Reading MA does not require a teaching certificate and many corporations and different fields of work have literacy components and literacy education initiatives.