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Master of Learning Technologies leaps to No. 8 in nation

Online program attracts graduate students to gain advanced expertise

Before Derrick Freeman entered the Master of Learning Technologies Program at The Ohio State University, he had significant skills and expertise in streaming media, video production and digital learning tools.  

Derrick Freeman“However, I was interested in boosting my skill in instructional design,” he said. “I was hoping the MLT would help me address this gap in knowledge and competence.” 

The fully online program offered by the College of Education and Human Ecology met all his expectations, Freeman said. “I got a bargain because I expected one thing but got so much more. Not only did I learn about instructional design, but I also now understand learning theories, multimedia principles and how to develop an instructional plan for a project.”

U.S. News & World Report recently released its rankings of online master’s in education programs. In recognition of the Ohio State program’s value to students, it advanced to No. 8 in the Educational and Instructional Media Design specialty category. It was previously No. 10.

The streamlined curriculum is tailored to offer students a full-time or part-time option. Freeman chose the part-time option because its flexibility accommodated his full-time role as the webcast producer for the Center for Continuing Medical Education at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center.

The program enrolls students from across the nation who gain professional expertise to elevate learning with technology in a variety of settings. The program also fulfills a high-priority requirement of employers – online collaboration.

Faculty describe best practices in program’s instructional approach

Rick Voithofer“Since it began, the program has evolved to integrate new technologies,” said Rick Voithofer, associate professor of learning technologies and chair of the program. “At the same time, we cover advances in research on the different uses of those technologies to support learning.”

Voithofer cited the example that many MLT courses are integrating and addressing generative AI, a tool for those who develop instruction with technology, especially instructional designers.

“Overall, the instructional philosophy ensures that students who graduate from the program are exposed to a wide variety of learning technologies,” he said. “They also are able to apply current research on how best to use those technologies in a variety of contexts.

Ana-Paula CorreiaAna-Paula Correia, professor of learning technologies, emphasized that while enrolled in the program’s courses, students not only learn but also apply their knowledge in real-world settings.

“They combine theoretical knowledge with practical application, engaging directly with clients in a professional context through virtual collaboration,” she said. “One example is the Applied Instructional Design course. In this course, students address real-world educational challenges and offer solutions to clients who are eager for their expertise.

“I would argue that these opportunities are rare in online programs and a highlight of the MLT,” she said.

Tracey Stuckey, clinical associate professor of learning technologies, said one of her professional and personal takeaways from fully online teaching is that “we can build real, professional relationships with students while working and studying remotely. My colleagues and I use intentional, thoughtful approaches to make sure students have ample opportunities.”  

Tracey StuckeyFor example, they use a mixture of synchronous “live” meetings and asynchronous interaction for active collaboration and dialogue.

For her personal approach, Stuckey described her optional, live office hours. “I encourage students to meet with other classmates and me to chat informally while seeing each other’s faces. Students can come to ask questions about content, or anything really, share related experiences and just get to know each other.”

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Freeman, ’23 MLT, guides a team that creates in-studio video productions for the professional development webcast series “OSU MedNet21” for the Wexner Medical Center.

Among his responsibilities are recommending streaming tools and developing streaming media production workflows for remote webcast recordings. He also produces video tutorials for MedNet21 viewers.

Freeman said the master’s program broadened his skill set. “One of the key benefits is the chance to create a variety of online teaching content using digital tools. We did this both with peers during courses and solo in the final project. The faculty coached us through our efforts.”

Correia served as Freeman’s adviser throughout the program and as his coach for the semester-long practicum experience. “She provided excellent advice and guidance to assist me in my journey throughout the MLT program,” he said.

Correia met with him regularly, especially for each of the critical milestones, he said. This included pitching the project to the client, creating a memorandum of understanding and planning the project. Correia offered feedback on how to make the trainings better.

While still in the program, Freeman created an online training, using CarmenCanvas, for moderators of the Wexner Medical Center’s webcast training series.

“Most importantly, the client was more satisfied,” he said, “and I learned critical thinking, in terms of why I am doing it this way rather than another way.”

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