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AU News

UPCEA Honors Instructional Design Graduate Program

October 12, 2021
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UPCEA recognized a graduate-level Instructional Design degree at Anderson University as a Program of Excellence.

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Award recipients will be honored at the virtual 2021 UPCEA Regions Week conference October 18-21 in Washington, DC. 

“We’re honored to have the M.S. in Instructional Design & Learning Technology recognized as a program of excellence by the UPCEA South Region this year,” said Dr. Josh Herron, Dean of Online and Continuous Learning and director of Anderson University’s M.S. in Instructional Design & Learning Technology (IDLT) program. “This signature program builds upon Anderson University’s status as an Apple Distinguished School and a highly ranked university that’s innovative in digital learning integration.”

“The vast majority of our current professors are those who work in the Center for Innovation and Digital Learning at Anderson University as well as external practitioners in instructional design and learning technology – from Fortune 500 companies to nationally-recognized digital learning consultants,” said Dr. Katie Wolfe- Burleson, M.S. IDLT associate director. “We appreciate and are honored again to receive this recognition from UPCEA.”

It would be fair to say that Instructional Design is one of the best careers that not many have heard about. When asked about what makes CIDL stand out among similar programs at peer institutions, the words “engaged” and “community” stand out, and for good reasons.

“It’s certainly the engagement with faculty and connection of the curriculum to the profession. AU is known as a hospitable place, and we take that online as well, so we’re certainly engaged as faculty members in the program, involving our students outside of the coursework,” Herron said. “We hold IDLT (Instructional Design and Learning Technology) talks twice a semester, where we use our networks to bring in someone who’s in the field to talk with our students about what life is like as an instructional designer.”

Dr. Herron and Dr. Wolfe-Burleson also remain active professionally by making presentations at conferences and working on publications. They are also publishing the Instructional Design Fieldbook, a text of case studies from those within various areas of instructional design. 

Comments from recent graduates of the Master of Science in Instructional Design and Technology program talk about the sense of community they have experienced. 

Kaitlyn Biedenbender, a former third-grade teacher, is a strong believer that learning should be fun, and wants to keep up-to-date on best practices for her class. She enrolled in the IDLT program and experienced an online program that goes beyond writing papers and interacting with classmates in online discussion boards.

“It’s more relational and you feel like you get benefits of being part of a community. I had professors who took me by the hand, encouraged me and they pushed me so that I would be able to believe in myself to complete the program,” Biedenbender said. 

Phillip Catledge, who does training and development for Prisma Health in Greenville, South Carolina, wanted to dig deeper into instructional design and develop meaningful interactive eLearning experiences. 

“I think the biggest thing is learning by doing, and this is what Anderson University capitalizes with its program of instructional design,” Catledge said. “I think one of the things that’s really helpful is that you have kind of an online learning community that you’re learning together with.”

UPCEA is the leading association for professional, continuing, and online education and hosts innovative conferences and specialty seminars, along with research resources and professional networking opportunities. The association has been around since 1915 and currently serves more than 400 institutions, including most of the leading public and private colleges and universities in North America. 

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