The program begins with each student outlining their professional goals and area of specialization in their context (the possible research area in which they are interested). Through the online courses and seminars, students acquire foundational knowledge in educational technology as well as research methodologies, and deep knowledge in their chosen area of specialization (Kumar & Dawson, 2018). Key program design features:
• All faculty members teaching in the program have prior teaching and research experience in instructional design and online education, leading to well-designed online courses and a strong faculty presence in online interactions with students using various media.
• We strive to build a community of inquiry through monthly synchronous meetings, the three on-campus sessions (for the Fall 2022 cohort: an orientation session in Fall 2022, a four-day on-campus session in June 2023, and a two-day on-campus session in May 2024), and a student-led social media group (e.g. in Facebook).
• Inquiry groups of students with common research interests work together and share resources online.
• Students define and refine their research focus in the required courses while being supported by multiple faculty members.
• We provide a supportive dissertation experience, where students are mentored by a full-time faculty member and engage in peer support.
• The program is purposefully designed keeping in mind that students have full-time jobs and other commitments. Strategies for self-direction and success in online environments are discussed and we guide students to craft an individual plan for success.
Technical support, registration support, and customized information literacy support are also key elements of the Ed.D. program.