As part of the University of Alabama’s MA in Religion in Culture students will earn two required additional certificates, to document their enhanced skills in both online pedagogy and the digital humanities.
Certificate in Online Pedagogy
Although traditional lecture and seminar courses constitute the BA in Religious Studies at UA, the Department of Religious Studies has also developed a small number of courses specifically designed for beginning students working in the online environment — from distance learning students, working on degrees but away from campus, to Early College students getting a leg-up on their university education. In order to design or teach such courses, all instructors must complete UA’s Certificate in Online Pedagogy — a 10-part program (comprised of both core and elective online courses) that ensures that they are aware of strategies for succeeding with online teaching. Because of the prominence of taking online courses in higher ed today, we aim to ensure that our graduates are not only experienced in teaching in this medium but also understand the wider factors that have, at least for some institutions, made online courses a preferred site. And, once they’ve earned this certificate (ideally before the end of their second semester, i.e., their first Spring semester), they will be eligible for the possibility of supervised online teaching opportunities in the Department, which could provide summer earnings or funding toward their second year as well as practical teaching experience.
Certificate in Digital Humanities
In cooperation with the Alabama Digital Humanities Center (ADHC), located on the ground floor of Gorgas Library, students will also earn (by the end of their degree) a newly established certificate, based on their regular attendance in a wide variety of workshops and brown bag lunches. Although they will become acquainted with the ADHC’s resources as part of their REL 502 foundations course (in the public humanities), this certificate requires students to take the initiative to find themed workshops, throughout their two years in the degree, that offer additional skills that will benefit their ongoing research in the Department. Furthermore, their active and regular participation in these events will ensure that students are woven into cross-disciplinary communities on campus, whose members are working with common tools but on an array of topics. It is our contention that preparing students either for further graduate work or any number of other careers will be enhanced not only if they master a number of digital tools but also if they develop a self-initiated approach to networking and acquiring tools that enable them to carry out innovative research that can be communicated to wide audiences. Achieving those ends is the aim of the digital humanities certificate.
Speak with the Graduate Director for more information on earning each certificate.
Certificate in Museum Studies
In addition to the above two certificates, which are part of the REL M.A. degree, UA offers a certificate in Museum Studies, toward which up to two REL grad courses can count. The remaining three Museum Studies courses include one offered each Fall, one each Spring, and a 40 hour internship (that can be arranged in a variety of locations and taken during the Fall, Spring, or summer semester). This additional certificate (which is not required by REL) might be ideal for students who see their graduate training as possibly preparing them to work in a variety of other institutions, such as archives, libraries, or museums.
Speaking with the Graduate Director for more information about the Museum Studies certificate.