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Distance Learning Opportunity

Students who do not live near Old Dominion University's main campus in Norfolk, Virginia take classes via our distance learning option. Old Dominion University offers graduate students in the Instructional Design and Technology department a unique distance learning option which blends the immediacy of face to face instruction with the flexibility of online education. Those who enroll in our distance option do not come to campus to attend class, but instead attend each live lecture via interactive video-conferencing at either a designated distance learning site or via an Internet connection from a personal computer anywhere in the world. Whether on campus, at distance learning site, or at home, all students participate together during live lectures and engage in class discussions with professors and fellow students using the latest online learning technologies.

Frequently Asked Questions:

The questions below represent the common questions asked by prospective students about the distance learning option. If you have additional questions about the program and would like further guidance please contact Dr. Gary Morrison

Is your program considered e-learning, online education, or blended learning?

Students in the Old Dominion University Instructional Design and Technology doctoral program engage in a variety of educational activities using the latest online learning technologies. Those who live outside of the Norfolk, Virginia area have the option of attending live class sessions via video-conferencing at either distance learning sites or from an Internet connection on a personal computer anywhere in the world. Some may consider this a form of e-learning, online education, or blended learning, but we refer to is as 2-way desktop video conferencing.

Distance students connecting from home must be able to connect virtually into the live weekly class sessions using the required Internet web conferencing software provided by the university, a USB web cam, and a microphone headset. Unlike many other "online" programs, our program requires that all distance students join the live class session via these web conferencing technologies during the scheduled class time. Each class in the PhD program meets live for about three hours either every week or every other week. It is not possible to just watch a recording of the session at a later time as each student's live participation during the class session is required. Using these online learning technologies, distance learners are able to see, hear, text chat, and speak with all those participating in the live class session whether they are sitting in Virginia or anywhere else in the world.

What is the distance learning experience like?

Whether on the Norfolk campus, at a distance learning site, or at home, students interact with professors and each other using a variety of learning technologies. Students at our Norfolk campus sit in class with the professor as he or she conducts the class session. The class sessions are broadcast live to our remote participants using interactive video technologies which allow the students at a distance to communicate with the other students and the professor. Online discussion boards facilitate conversations outside of the live class sessions. The following is a description of the experience from one of a recent doctoral student studying from a distance:

"As a resident of Michigan, I have been studying at Old Dominion University as a doctoral student in Instructional Design and Technology from a distance for about a year and a half and I'm really enjoying the experience. The more I participate in class, the more transparent the technology becomes. I take my turn during discussions and I am getting pretty good at interjecting and even interrupting, I hope, politely. The other students in the program have been very warm and welcoming. At first, I was worried that they may find working with me on group projects an inconvenience because of the geographic distance between us, but that concern has completely evaporated. Every semester, my participation through synchronous and asynchronous class discussion strengthens my social and professional connection with my classroom peers. We use all means necessary to get our projects done, including telephone conferencing by taking advantage of free weekend minutes."
- Mary Kickham-Samy

Who are the professors?

Students taking advantage of the distance learning option study with the same faculty as the on campus students. The following offers a perspective of the faculty from one of our recent doctoral students:

"Regarding my Old Dominion University experience, I am approximately half-way through the program. I am on course 10 of 21 and have found the Instructional Design and Technology program to be challenging, yet very personally rewarding. My experience has been that all the Instructional Design and Technology professors are experts in their field, very approachable, and open."
- Rick Horner

How are lectures and discussions held?

Those who enroll in our distance option do not come to campus to attend class, but instead attend each live lecture via interactive video-conferencing from their home or office computer. Whether on campus, at distance learning site, or at home, all students participate together during live lectures and engage in class discussions with professors and fellow students using the latest online learning technologies.

While class schedules vary, most classes in the program are a blend of both live sessions and online discussions. Typically, every other week a professor will hold a live session lasting about 3 hours beginning at either 4:20 p.m. or 7:10 p.m. The conversation typically continues within an online discussion forum using Canvas, the course management system used at Old Dominion University.

How difficult is it to learn and use the required technology?

Students tend to quickly overcome the technology glitches that inevitably occur and focus on the learning at hand. The following describes a typical experience from a recent doctoral students who joins us from a distance:

"It has been rewarding for me to be part of a new, cutting-edge program. I feel that I am not only learning about instructional design theory and application, but as a distance learning student, I am completely immersed in the experience of learning when and how to use distance learning technology. Through my courses, I am learning about many different media of instruction. Most of my courses have been conducted via a video-conferencing program. During my first semester, I had to overcome some problems connecting through my firewall, but even this was a learning experience. When I took my first video-streaming course, a director in the Distance Learning office sent out instructions to all the students like me, who were new and uninitiated to video-streaming, with information about how to test equipment and other information, such as procedures for taking supervised exams in my local area. Throughout the semester, my statistics professor was quick to respond to e-mail and available by telephone. The information technology staff was always available at the other end of the telephone to guide me. Now that my equipment is properly configured, the experience is seamless."
- Mary Kickham-Samy

I work full time. Can I still take part in the program?

Many students in our program have well established careers and are currently employed on either a full or part time basis. The following describes the experience of one of our current doctoral students who worked full time while attending the program:

"I personally have a full time job at NASA Langley Research Center and a part time job at Old Dominion University's Peninsula Center. My schedule is a little hectic, but a job with core hours in the 7 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. range isn't a huge issue. Most classes in the program run for about 3 hours in the 4:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. time slot. Hopefully, your job will understand that you are going to be in school a couple of days a week, depending on how many courses you are taking."
- Gamaliel Cherry

What technology and equipment will I need?

Whether attending classes on campus, at a distance learning site, or at home, all students are required to have access to a personal computer. The Old Dominion University's Distance Learning website is the best place to find detailed information about specific technology requirements.

To view the current technology and equipment requirements, visit Online Learning Environment

How will I gain access to library resources from a distance?

Students enrolled as distance learners have a wide range of resources available from Old Dominion University's Perry Library, including hundreds of research databases, thousands of journal articles, news resources, government resources, business information, and catalogs from both Old Dominion University and other libraries around the world. Increasingly, copies of needed resources are available online. In cases where a copy of a book or print article is needed, distance learners can request the copy from the library.

"As a distance student, I am able to access Old Dominion University's Perry Library online catalogue and resource databases from my home computer. The vast majority of the library resources I need for class papers or research projects are available online for immediate download. However, when I need a copy of a book or a print article that is not online, I simply request a copy from the library using an online request form. Print articles are scanned and made available for me to download while books are mailed to my home address in a matter of days. The library provides truly amazing service for distance learners!"
- Jennifer Maddrell

To find out more about available services from the library, visit this page for Distance Learners & Instructors

Will I get to take part in research?

Students taking advantage of the distance learning option have the same ability to engage in research opportunities as our on-campus students. All students are expected to complete a research study that is submitted for publication or presentation before taking their comprehensive exam.

How much is tuition?

The Office of Admissions provides current rates and fees, as well as a tuition calculator to help you estimate your tuition costs based on current tuition rates and fees. While rates are subject to change in the future, this calculator offers a handy snapshot of program costs based on your enrollment status. You can find the rates on the ODU Costs and Tution page

I would like to know more about the admissions process. How do I apply?

While the admission process is different for Masters level and Doctoral students, admission decisions are based on several criteria including GPA (undergraduate and any other graduate work) and GRE scores (analytical writing, verbal, and quantitative). Additional requirements apply for International students.

To find out about admission to the program, go to the Graduate Admission page.

For answers to specific questions about the Old Dominion University Instructional Design and Technology program, please contact Dr. Jill Stefaniak.

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