As part of the University of Alabama’s MA in Religion in Culture students will earn two required additional credentials, to document their enhanced skills in both online pedagogy and the digital humanities.
Credential 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 Credential in Online Pedagogy — a multi-part online program 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.
Credential in Digital Humanities
Throughout their degree, students will also earn a credential in the digital humanities. This will entail a variety of components: participating in the 1 credit hour REL 503 Digital Methods in the Study of Religion (offered each semester, with different topics, and repeatable for up to 4 hours); informal coffee discussions organized and hosted by the REL Digital Lab, with on-campus staff and faculty who routinely work with computer-based applications (such as staff working in either the College of Arts & Sciences’ Office of eTech or the University’s Office of Information Technology).
Internships, established by the department either on or off campus, where students use their digital skills in practical, supervised settings (we recommend these not be set up in the student’s first semester). Depending on the relevance of programming outside the department in any given year, additional events/elements may be recommended or required as part of the Digital Humanities Credential.
Speak with the graduate director for more information on earning each credential or setting up an internship.
Additional Certificates (Optional)
In addition to the above two opportunities, which are part of the REL MA 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 — not to be confused with internship opportunities that are part of the REL degree itself). 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.
There is also an opportunity to earn a 15-credit hour Women’s Studies Certificate through the Department of Gender and Race Studies.