New masters program teaches design and tech

Jake Klein, Journalist

Students at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater will have the opportunity to take a new fully online master’s degree program, the Master of Science in Instructional Design and Learning Technology, which will be offered in the fall of 2020. It’s based in the university’s College of Education and Professional Studies, and two faculty members from Whitewater were the developers of this program.

Nicole Weber, director of learning technology for Instructional, Communication and Information Technology, and Elizabeth King, associate professor and department chair of Educational Foundations, collaborated on this program together. Both felt that there were skills needed that weren’t offered up until this program was created.

“We felt that there was a need for coursework like this among our colleagues in higher education,” King said.

The framework of the program is to enable professionals to remain in their work roles while also learning and developing skills that employers are looking for.

“Learning is changing now more than ever, and we had to develop and design our coursework with technology that’s beneficial for people who are in the field, or for people who plan to enter the field,” Weber said.

When conducting research, they focused heavily on surveying people to see what is needed and what employers are looking for. They also focused on technology integration and how to combine that with learning in a way that will best prepare their students long-term. Following their research, they concluded that a hands-on approach would be best suited for the needs of the program.

“We’re aiming the focus on a real-world application process, meaning no busy-work, but rather a focus on real-world projects through partnerships with our innovative Learning Technology Center and industry partners,” Weber said.

By offering this as an online program it enables students to collaborate and learn from one another, which will only strengthen their development. Both developers believe this coursework will prepare students that leave the program to be well-situated to not only contribute to the field, but lead it, according to Weber.

To ask questions or learn more about the master’s degree program, people can contact Elizabeth King, at [email protected].