Writing for children online certificate program wins state endorsement

September 01, 2011

McDaniel’s year-old online graduate certificate program designed to help aspiring authors join the ranks of J.K. Rowling and Dr. Seuss just won Maryland Higher Education Commission endorsement. The completely online “Writing for Children and Young Adults” from McDaniel’s Graduate and Professional Studies department launched in the fall of 2010 and is accessible to students all over the nation and world.

The certificate’s five three-credit courses count toward the post-baccalaureate certificate (P.B.C.), a Master of Liberal Arts degree or may be taken on a non-degree basis, says the program’s coordinator, Mona Kerby, a McDaniel professor of Library Science and author of more than 10 books for children and young adults, including most recently “Owney, The Mail-Pouch Pooch.”

“Students are finding that they really get to know people in an online class even more so than in an actual classroom,” Kerby says, explaining that the students, one from San Diego, taking “Nonfiction: Writing for Grades PreK-12” this semester are busy online getting to know one another. “Strong collaborative relationships have developed among students and their teachers who are experts in their fields.”

Learning, says Kerby, is collaborative, and students will have the opportunity to interact with children’s book editors, writers and agents. In sharp contrast to correspondence classes, students will be expected to participate in online class discussions.

Kerby’s star power has attracted some of the best-known writers in the country to serve as faculty for this program, according to Henry Reiff, dean of Graduate and Professional Studies and professor of Special Education.

“Any budding children's writer is sure to find this experience personally and professionally rewarding,” Reiff says. “The chance to work with such well-known authors creates networking possibilities that simply are not available to most writers. And being online means that these authors and editors who live in places like New York, or anywhere for that matter, become McDaniel faculty without having to leave their apartments.”

Instructors include Jill Santopolo, executive editor at Philomel Books, Penguin Young Readers Group and noted author of the Alec Flint mystery series; Lisa Graff, author of “Umbrella Summer” and “The Life and Crimes of Bernetta Wallflower” and Kristin Becker, senior editor at Harper Collins.

Kerby explains more about the Writing for Children and Young Adults series in this video.