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Online Education Courses Offer Experiential Learning

June 21, 2019

Kati McClish, a UMW student double majoring in secondary education and biology, is amazed with how experiential her first few online education courses have been this summer.

McClish came to Montana Western with an original plan to major in biology and later become a physical therapist. After completing her Associate of Science degree in December 2018, McClish came to the realization that she instead wanted to teach biology. She added a secondary education major in spring 2019.

McClish was surprised when starting her new chapter pursuing two online education courses this summer. “EDU 201: Introduction to Education with a Field Observation” and “EDU 222: Educational Psychology and Child Development” are both based on a foundation of experiential learning.

Dr. Estee Aiken provides an innovative experience through EDU 201, as students are introduced to the field of education and the relationships between schools and society. Students in the online course are placed in a K-12 classroom to observe and take notes for two days.

In EDU 222, Dr. Jen Gilliard requires students to communicate through weekly online discussions of course content. Participants of the class explore and analyze major theories of development and learning, while later applying these theories to teaching practice.

“These online classes are extremely different from other classes I have taken. They are in depth and take a lot of work. They give you a real idea of whether you want to be a teacher or not. I have also taught mock classes which I never thought I would do in an online class,” stated McClish while sharing her experience so far in her education courses.

Experience One, the unique one course at a time scheduling program at Montana Western, allows education majors like McClish to gain real-world experience well before receiving a degree by offering immersive courses both in the classroom and online.

“I was inspired to become a biology teacher by my professors on campus. They make it clear how much they love their job and their students and I am excited to gain that happiness when I start teaching. Also, I really love biology,” said McClish when asked why she wanted to become a biology teacher.

For more information about Experience One and the University of Montana Western, or to schedule a visit, call 877-683-7331 or visit