Background and Purpose
Building on its reputation as a leader in innovative teaching and learning, the Anderson University M.S. in Instructional Design and Learning Technology (IDLT) was launched in spring 2019 to serve aspiring instructional design or technology professionals in industry, higher education, and K-12 environments. This program is a fully online, 30 credit-hour degree with cohorts beginning each spring, summer, and fall.
When Anderson University sought to be a leader in technology integration in 2012, significant investments were made to enhance technological infrastructure and just as importantly, establish a Center for Innovation and Digital Learning to support faculty in curricular innovation. Through the work and growth of this Center, the University has established a strong reputation in the area of instructional design and learning technology integration that has only enhanced its well-regarded strengths as an academic institution, earning distinctions such as Most Innovative School ranking by U.S. World News and Report, three-time Apple Distinguished School, and other accolades from the Online Learning Consortium, UPCEA, and Eduventures.
The external demand for expertise in digital transformation in learning environments led to the CIDL’s offering of professional development workshops for K12 educators and leaders who were seeking to use design thinking and emerging technologies as the University had been doing with its own initiatives, such as a 1:1 iPad program. Over time, these relationships led to the development of a uniquely structured professional M.S. IDLT program aligned to state online teacher endorsement criteria and taught by active instructional design personnel in the CIDL.
At program launch, there were only a few SC higher education institutions offering a comparable degree. However, there are no other Upstate schools offering this program, and no schools have a focus on 1:1 mobile learning that Anderson University offers. Anderson’s mobile learning niche, lower cost, and the ability to partner with local schools in the upstate region gave us a competitive advantage.
The M.S. IDLT program uses permanent full-time hybrid staff with faculty status in the Center for Innovation and Digital Learning. These permanent staff members have teaching responsibilities at the University, but these will now shift solely to M.S. in Instructional Design and Learning Technology program. The program also uses part-time faculty who fit the criteria of practitioner-faculty. See Faculty Snapshot for more details on the program’s faculty.
Admissions & Enrollment
Students in this master’s degree program come from diverse disciplines and experiences. The admissions requirements include a university application, resume, letter of interest, and bachelor’s degree in any discipline with a 2.5 GPA. Promising students who do not meet the GPA requirement may be admitted on a contractual basis. The vital element is that the student desires a career at the cutting edge of learning, instructional design, and technology.
The M.S. in Instructional Design and Learning Technology program began the spring semester of 2019 with its first cohort of 11 students. At present, there are 72 active students in the program with 85% coming from a K12 background, with many being current classroom teachers. To date, there have been 20 graduates from the program.