Worldwide Education

The Penn State World Campus master's degree in educational leadership is having an impact on education in Doha, Qatar.

"I was able to apply everything I was learning to my work right away," says Kelsie Abduljawad, a 2014 graduate of Penn State World Campus' master's program in educational leadership

While she was working toward her degree, she applied her coursework to a job at Al-Arqam Academy, an all-girls Islamic school in Qatar's capital of Doha. 

"I was able to apply everything I was learning to my work right away."—Kelsie Abduljawad

"It made a huge impact on how I viewed my processes and my programs," she says. "Pairing my professional work with my course work was absolutely amazing."

Abduljawad began her studies with Penn State in January 2012 after spending more than half a year researching online master's degrees in education. 

"I wanted something that had the quality that I felt matched my goals," she says. "Penn State offered something that really ticked all of the boxes for me." 

Around the time that Abduljawad began her studies, her school had started a national accreditation process. She played an important role in her school's work on accreditation, thanks to two of her classes. 

"Pairing my professional work with my course work was absolutely amazing."—Kelsie Abduljawad

She helped drive the school's work on researching how students were meeting educational goals by applying what she learned from class. 

As a result of her degree's professional development course, she realized the teachers in her school should be able to learn at their own pace or in groups of people who are like-minded. She developed a manual for her school to outline information all teachers need to know, such as rules for sick time, vacation time, or the mission of the school, instead of making teachers sit through long presentations.

The class has led her to believe that teachers will benefit more working their way through material at their own pace. 

"We're asking the students to be motivated learners, and we're doing all the wrong things when trying to teach teachers anything knew," she says. 

Abduljawad also got from her coursework the concept of "flipping" the professional development program by putting content online. That plan is in the works. 

"I wanted something that had the quality that I felt matched my goals. Penn State offered something that really ticked all of the boxes for me."—Kelsie Abduljawad

One of her last courses at Penn State, curriculum design, helped her drive the school's decision on its curriculum. 

"We realized we need to adapt our curriculum more for our students, because they're mostly Qatar nationals," she says.

"When you have a math example of Sally boarding the train at 7 a.m., and it's a five-hour ride, what time does she arrive in Edinburgh—the students have no point of reference for a train ride to Edinburgh. So why can't I use a flight on Qatar Airways from Doha to London?"

She continues, "I was really able to use the theories and methods of that course step by step as a framework." 

Abduljawad plans to pursue a doctorate degree in education and work as a lecturer or professional development trainer. 

About Penn State World Campus

The mission of Penn State World Campus is to offer students access to a quality academic experience, even if you have job and family obligations to fulfill. The campus' online courses are the same academically challenging courses taught on campus, with an asynchronous format that allows students to learn at their own convenience.

In the end, the degree or certificate earned from World Campus is identical to the one awarded to all Penn State graduates on campus.