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Indiana University School of Education Launches First Online Doctorate

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IEarning One of IU's First Online Doctorate May Land You in a Lecture Hall of Your Own


The Indiana University School of Education has received approval to offer a new online doctor of education degree (EdD) in instructional systems technology (IST) entirely through distance learning. The new program is the first online doctorate degree to be offered by Indiana University.

While all courses will be taught online, doctoral students will be required to visit the Bloomington, Ind. campus at least three times during their studies. Both the qualifying exam and oral dissertation defense will occur on campus.

“The IST program has an outstanding international reputation for quality and innovation,” said School of Education dean Gerardo Gonzalez in a university press release. “Our graduates are employed in leadership positions in a variety of settings throughout the world. The new online degree will make available a program with a proven track record to people we could not have reached otherwise. It is in itself an application of the innovative teaching for which our faculty is known.”

IU offers a traditional campus-based IST doctorate in philosophy education degree program (PhD). The online degree will offer similar coursework, but will award an EdD with an emphasis on applied practice rather than research.

The difference is that the delivery method will allow working educators and practitioners to earn an advanced degree from a top-tier education school while remaining employed. The online EdD will focus on applying theory to practice.

Graduates of the IU program, Department of Instructional Systems Technology, are prepared to work as practitioners and researchers. They learn to construct and test products, systems and services for use in both education and corporate training settings. Elements of IST include the analysis, design, development, evaluation, deployment and management of instructional technology. 

IU currently offers an online master’s in instructional technology. According to university officials, the online PhD was launched in response to graduates of its online education master’s program wanting to engage in advanced research and study with their alma mater.

“There’s a huge need right now for more education because of our unemployment situation,” said Ted Frick, chair and professor in IST. “We need to be developing training programs for the workforce, new programs in community colleges, certificates, associate degree programs and the like. Developing those, designing those and testing those, that’s a place where we would expect our EdD students to go.”

The IST department at IU was founded in the 1920s and incorporated into the Graduate School of Education in the 1940s.

“We often become the model for other programs to emulate,” said Frick. “Historically, we’ve been leaders in the (education research) field, and we want to be leaders here.”