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MS in Education, Instructional Design for Online Learning

School of Public Service and Education

The master’s specialization in Instructional Design for Online Learning is designed to provide professionals working in a variety of traditional and online settings in educational institutions, corporations, health care and government agencies, and the military with the instructional design and development competence needed to advance their careers and serve their organizations. The curriculum focuses on preparing instructional design practitioners to design and develop educational interventions based on theory and practice in the field. These specialization requirements are not designed or intended to meet professional licensure requirements for the education profession.

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Core courses:

Foundations of Master’s Studies in Education

This course provides learners with opportunities to acquire and use graduate-level skills, including the ability to critically examine and apply relevant educational theory to professional practice. Learners develop expertise in scholarly writing as well as explore the importance of multicultural perspectives and diversity in professional contexts. Finally, learners articulate and examine their professional purpose and its alignment with their specialization and career aspirations. Must be taken during the first quarter by learners who have been admitted to the MEd in Teaching and Learning, MS in Education, MS in Education Innovation and Technology, and MS in Higher Education degree programs and the Adult Education and Higher Education Leadership and Administration graduate certificate programs. Cannot be fulfilled by transfer or credit for prior learning.

4 quarter credits
Survey of Research Methodology

This course is an overview of graduate research methodology. Learners examine fundamental research methodologies and their respective quantitative and qualitative approaches to rigorous scholarly inquiry.

4 quarter credits

Specialization courses: 

Principles of Instructional Design

Learners develop professional skills and competencies pertaining to instructional design process, theories, and strategies. Learners evaluate the decisions that instructional designers make, the principles and concepts that drive those decisions, and the ways the decisions are interrelated. Cannot be fulfilled by transfer or credit for prior learning.

4 quarter credits
ED5803 *
Processes of Instructional Design

This course emphasizes the process of instructional design and provides learners the opportunity to apply design research and theory while developing instructional strategies. Learners examine the systematic process of addressing the needs of the student, structuring the content, and applying principles of learning and instruction to create effective instructional solutions. Prerequisite(s): ED5802. Cannot be fulfilled by transfer or credit for prior learning.

4 quarter credits
Design of Instructional Media

Learners in this course examine instructional design skills and competencies including budgeting, communication, project management, program evaluation, and legal and ethical issues. Learners design theory-based instructional solutions and plan the design of instructional components using various forms of instructional media and technologies.

4 quarter credits
Project Management for e-Learning Development

This course presents project management topics, techniques, media strategies, and ethical standards specific to e-learning development. Learners identify and apply the tools, methods, and processes used to effectively budget, implement, and manage e-learning development projects.

4 quarter credits
Instructional Design for Online Learning Capstone

The capstone course is taken after completing all required and elective coursework. Learners demonstrate proficiency in integrating learning from required and elective courses by completing a final project. For MS Instructional Design for Online Learning learners only. Must be taken during the learner’s final quarter. Cannot be fulfilled by transfer or credit for prior learning.

4 quarter credits
ED6484 *
Application of Learning Theories to Instructional Design

This course presents theories of learning and instruction providing empirical guidance for designing effective instructional solutions that target specific learning outcomes. Learners engage in a variety of readings, activities, discussions, and assignments to further develop an understanding of the foundational theories of learning and instruction and their applications to instructional design. Prerequisite(s): ED5802, ED5803. Cannot be fulfilled by credit for prior learning.

4 quarter credits
Instructional Design Technologies

In this course, learners apply theories and principles of instructional design and cognitive learning utilizing instructional media strategies. Learners also identify ethical, legal, and political implications of the design in the workplace. Finally, learners examine software tools that developers and instructional designers use to create innovative e-learning experiences. Cannot be fulfilled by credit for prior learning.

4 quarter credits
ED6505 *
Evaluation and Assessment of Instructional Design

In this course, learners examine tools, methods and practices used to assess learning. Learners also analyze methods and models of evaluation of instruction. In addition, learners practice designing new assessment tools and integrating assessment results in the evaluation process. Prerequisite(s): ED5802, ED5803. Cannot be fulfilled by credit for prior learning.

4 quarter credits



Two Elective Courses



At least 8 quarter credits

Recommended elective courses:

Theory and Methods of Educating Adults

In this course, learners study adult learning theory and learning styles and preferences. Course topics include adult education theories, principles of adult learning, and methodology for best practice in adult education. Learners also reflect on their personal educational philosophy and practice. Cannot be fulfilled by transfer or credit for prior learning.

4 quarter credits
Needs Assessment: Models and Procedures

This course is a survey of the needs assessment models and procedures used to diagnose the causes of organizational performance problems. Learners design and develop needs assessment instruments and collect and analyze data to differentiate organizational performance issues that require training solutions from those that require non-training interventions.  Cannot be fulfilled by credit for prior learning.

4 quarter credits


Choose any graduate course(s).






At least 48 quarter credits

* Denotes courses that have prerequisite(s). Refer to the descriptions for further details.

Learners who do not complete all program requirements within quarter credit/program point minimums will be required to accrue such additional quarter credits/program points as are associated with any additional or repeat coursework necessary for successful completion of program requirements.

This specialization is not designed to lead to license, endorsement, other professional credential, or salary advancement. Contact your school district for a determination on qualifications for salary advancement.





Multiple specializations available  (must be within the same degree program)