Online Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) Course Descriptions

Seminar in Ethics and Social Justice: 3 Credits

This course develops students’ vocabulary for discussing and clarifying ethical issues and for gaining understanding of ethical issues within organizations. The course helps students develop policies and strategies to address ethical issues affecting their organizations, clients, and civic communities in which they are located.

Introduction to Inquiry: 3 Credits

This course provides an overview to scholarly inquiry and practice and develops foundational knowledge about research design and methods. Students in this course will review research studies and read peer-reviewed research on research ethics and basic concepts in designed-based research and improvement science.

Leading Instructional Improvement: 3 Credits

This course focuses on the practice of instructional improvement in schools and school systems, where “improvement” is defined as increasing the equity and quality of instructional practice and student learning over time. The course focuses on learning at the individual, classroom, group, school, and system levels. It is designed to equip students with a set of skills in observing, analyzing, and understanding teaching and learning that can be coupled with decisions about how to manage and support learning organizations in the PK–12 sector.

Leading a Learning Organization: 3 Credits

This course focuses on the nature of learning organizations—in businesses and schools—and the process that has been used to create and lead such organizations. While the course focuses on various leadership styles and perspectives, an emphasis will be placed on hypothesizing how these divergent interpretations of leadership can be applied to learning organizations. Teams will complete in-depth studies of actual learning organizations, in businesses and schools, and present these models. Students will then develop an individual reflective plan centering on leading a learning organization.

Economics and Finance of Education: 3 Credits

This course examines the efficiency of the funding of education, including sources, budgets, uses, and effects, at the federal, state, and local levels. Key concerns are the equity of spending, the efficiency of resource utilization, the productivity of schools in relating dollars spent to student achievement, and the privatization of education (e.g., charter schools, vouchers, and school choice). The course has practical uses for school leaders who must set budgets, maintain sources of school income, and analyze the spending of funds in both public and private schools.

Leadership in Educational Policy and Reform: 3 Credits

This course examines the effects of coalitions, local political systems, and power and authority with respect to administering and leading educational systems.

Community of Inquiry I: Framing Problems of Practice: 1 Credit

In this initial course, students will begin to identify their problem of practice, learn attributes of universal problems, investigate how to differentiate the problem for various groups, and determine how to collaborate with others to define and investigate their problem.

Research in Administration and Supervision I: 3 Credits

This course emphasizes development of individual research proposals, using quantitative methods and design, in preparation for the dissertation seminar.

Seminar in Leadership: 3 Credits

This advanced seminar deals with selected topics and issues in leadership. The course involves the exploration of theoretical frameworks as a means of interpreting problems from the field and suggesting leadership responses to those problems.

Seminar in Organizational Culture: 3 Credits

This course focuses on the nature of organizational culture: how it is created, how it is shaped, and how it can be changed. Students discuss the development of norms, values, and behaviors in an organization. Examples of effective as well as dysfunctional cultures are analyzed.

Research in Administration and Supervision II: 3 Credits

Students in this course continue development of conceptualizing research questions with emphasis on qualitative methodology.

Urban Education: Problems and Perspectives: 3 Credits

This course features an analysis of trends and innovations most likely to shape urban education delivery systems in the future.

Transforming Schools, Districts, and Communities: 3 Credits

This course is in one of the four core content areas and is designed for students to explore theory, research, and professional practices in engaging and transforming schools, districts, and communities, particularly in support of school improvement and student learning. The course will also explore resource acquisition, management, and use in support of student learning and related political and systems issues.

Community of Inquiry II: Innovative Solutions: 1 Credit

In this second-year course, students will explore tools and practices for creative problem solving and conflict resolution, particularly in addressing complex challenges or capitalizing on opportunities for improvement, with a focus on generating solutions for their proposed problem of practice.

Inquiry and Analysis: 3 Credits

School administrators are challenged to manage, analyze, and use data to inform instruction and improve student performance. Students in this course learn how to use data for setting priorities and goals, monitoring progress, and data warehousing—thus holding educators accountable for results. Students will also analyze and share data in a “data cycle” format to inform educators and the public regarding what they receive from the district or read in the print and electronic media. The overall purpose is to use data analysis for school accountability, improvement, and reform.

Designed-Based Methods and Improvement Science in Education: 3 Credits

This course in the research sequence moves students from exploring problems of practice to identifying, designing, and planning for the implementation of promising solutions to address these problems. Specifically, students will investigate and apply design-based and improvement science methods to address a significant educational problem in their school, system, or community. This course has two main purposes. First, it introduces students to different design-based and improvement science methods in educational research. Second, it provides students with an intensive experience in their own design-based research prototype design as they seek implementation support and process, develop readiness for change and buy-in, and start their innovation.

Implementation Research and Program Evaluation: 3 Credits

This course offers preparation and guidance in implementation research and program evaluation. Students will learn how to monitor implementation and conduct program evaluation for the solution being addressed in their dissertation of practice. This course will address the theoretical, organizational change, and practical issues, as well as prepare students to plan and conduct an implementation study and program evaluation and communicate the results.

Dissertation in Practice Seminar: 3 Credits