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					       Background and Expectations of an Online
       Doctoral Cohort: Implications for Program
                 Design and Delivery


    Dr. Bob Spencer
    Dr. Pat Fahy

    Centre for Distance
    Education




CNIE Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
May, 2009                                          1
    Backgroud/History of EdD

     AU’s first doctoral degree (May 2008)

     Internal Approval
     1. New program proposal process (STEP 1-2)
     2. Contingent on positive MDE review (Dec 2000)
     3. Approved second time around (April 2004)

     Government Institutional/Program Review
     1. Doctoral standards
     2. Curriculum review
     3. Approved Feb 2007
        a. New hirings: senior academics and Dean
        b. Review program after two years


                                                       2
EdD Program Overview

   Practitioner’s degree
   Six courses
   Required f2f program orientation
   Cohort based (12 students/annum)




                                       3
Orientation
1 week, in Athabasca
Purposes:
  1.   Form cohort
  2.   Meet faculty
  3.   Answer questions, address concerns
  4.   Launch 801 course



                                            4
     Orientation – survey results
Best:                           Change:
1.  Socializing opportunities   1. More interaction with
     (9.7/10; highest)             faculty (8.2/10; lowest)
2.   Meeting area               2. Meet faculty sooner
3.   Networking opportunities   3. All faculty attend
4.   Pre-orientation            4. Shorten some
     information                   presentations
5.   Collaborative assignment   5. Reduce costs (4 days)



                                                              5
Implications
1.        Emphasize cohort formation goal
     a.     Social time, events, locations
     b.     Collaborative assignment
2.        Maintain information flow
     a.     Orientation coordinator
     b.     Elluminate pre-session (June)
     c.     Information package

                                             6
Implications           (con’t)

3.    Encourage all faculty to attend
     a.   Social events: opening, dinner
4.    Faculty presentations:
     a.   Shorten
     b.   Introduce advisees, provide time to meet




                                                     7
Survey – pre year 1
    Group demographics
    Technology skills
    Professional skills and abilities
    Professional prospects and expectations

1.   Present and expected outcomes
2.   Absolutely critical elements


                                               8
Demographics
   N = 14 (8 women, 6 men)
   Age: mean = 48 years; median = 52.
   Residence:
       Alberta = 5
       Ontario = 4
       BC = 3
       NB = 1
       Nfld = 1

                                         9
Students’ backgrounds (con’t)
Academics
     4 diplomas
          GDDET = 2
     19 bachelor’s degrees
          BA = 9, BEd = 5, BSc = 3
     15 master’s degrees
          MDE = 6
          MEd = 3
          MA = 2

                                      10
Specializations
   Linguistics (2)
   English (2)
   Elementary education
   History
   Sociology
   Pharmacy
   Psychology
   Nursing
   Integrated studies
   Communication
   Information technology
   Educational technology
   Leadership and training

                              11
Employment
   10 employed in DE-related field
   Median 4 years in current job, 10 years
    with current employer
       Range: 0.3 – 30 years




                                          12
  Technology skills – present and
  expected
Already high:                    Critical to satisfaction:
1.   E-mail (4.93)                   Course design
2.   Web search engines
                                     CMC moderating
3.   File transfer
4.   Teleconferencing                Synchronous technologies
5.   Course design                   Asynchronous technologies
6.   Asynchronous technologies       Mobile learning
     (3.86)
                                     VOIP




                                                              13
Professional skills
Proficient:                    Expected to grow:
1.   Teaching/training         1. Teaching/training
     techniques                   techniques
2.   Small group               2. Writing skills
     communications            3. Speaking skills
3.   Computer conferencing     4. Computer conferencing
     participation                participation
4.   Leadership capabilities   5. Presenting at professional
5.   Planning skills              conferences
6.   Decision-making skills    6. Writing for publication
                               7. Subject matter expertise



                                                               14
Most critical professional skills
1.    Teaching/training techniques
2.    Writing skills
3.    Speaking skills
4.    Computer conferencing participation
5.    Presenting at professional conferences
6.    Writing for publication
7.    Subject matter expertise
8.    Team leadership
9.    Leadership capabilities
10.   Group leadership skills
11.   Curriculum design
12.   Decision-making skills


                                               15
Prospects & expectations
Most critical to satisfaction:
1. Prospects for an academic career
2. Personal confidence
3. Opportunities to do more teaching
4. Project management responsibilities
5. International connections
6. Credibility
7. Career change options
8. Knowledge of technology developments

                                          16
Implications for design,
content
Focus on:
  Teaching, training (TAs)
  Research (RAs)
  Writing, speaking (CNIE; DETS; JDE,
   IRRODL)
  Collaborations, projects (Lancaster)
  Career change possibilities
                                          17
Questions, discussion




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