Distance Learning Graduate Programs in Educational Technology

Dec 04, 2019

Essential Information

Several schools offer online master's and doctoral programs in educational technology. These programs may be completed entirely online or in a hybrid format that combines online study with on-campus classes, seminars, meetings and conferences.

Some schools offer several types of graduate degrees that focus on educational technology. One type prepares students for the hands-on use of technology in the classroom, working with schools to implement new technologies and use existing ones. In other graduate programs, students focus on research and scholarship in educational technology.

Master's degree programs give students an overview of how technology can be used in the classroom. They may study the integration of the internet and computer games into the curriculum. A portfolio, research project or thesis may be required. A doctoral program generally focuses on research. A thesis or dissertation is usually required.

In every state, teachers and many administrators must be licensed, and programs in educational technology generally do not meet the requirements for initial licensing. However, some schools offer online programs leading to an endorsement in educational technology for licensed teachers. These are brief, non-degree programs.

Master's Degree in Educational Technology

Educational technology is a field where skilled professionals integrate computers, the Internet, audiovisual equipment and other instructional technology into teaching and learning. Online master's level degrees fall under various titles, such as Master of Arts in Learning Technologies, Master of Education in Instructional Technology and Master of Science in Educational Technology.

Program Information and Requirements

Some programs can be completed entirely online, while other programs are hybrid programs that combine online coursework with meetings and conferences at several instruction sites. Educational technology master's programs can be completed in as little as one year. Many master's programs require students to complete a research project or portfolio of work.

Students communicate with instructors and fellow students through e-mail, instant messaging and online discussion forums. Some classes may use video conferencing, so students should have a webcam and microphone for their personal computer.

Course Topics

Courses examine the field of educational technology, presenting current issues and innovations. Students design curriculums based on the efficient use of instructional technology. Other courses teach methods of evaluating and selecting appropriate forms of educational technology for various programs of instruction.

Education With the Internet

This course teaches educators how to effectively research and use information available on the Internet. Students also learn to design websites for instruction with software and simple coding.

Designing Educational Messages

Students taking this class learn to create text and images that accurately communicate and display instructional information. This class combines graphic design with media development skills.

Instructional Games

This class explains how teachers can use computer games and simulation to educate students. Students evaluate programs based on instruction goals and discuss social and cultural issues involving virtual environments.

Doctoral Degree in Educational Technology

Online doctorate programs can result in a Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) or Doctor of Philosophy degree. The goal of these doctorate programs is to create experts in educational improvement through technology. Sometimes educational technology is paired with studies in curriculum or educational psychology.

Program Information and Requirements

The hybrid doctorate programs are a mix of campus-based learning and online teaching. Some classes may be offered only on-campus. Other schools require students to attend conferences in person. Programs can be completed in four or five years without a previous master's degree or two years with a master's degree. Some programs have strict requirements for entry. Such specifications include several years of professional experience in an educational setting.

Students should have basic comfort communicating through instant messengers, online chats and e-mail. A microphone, webcam and speakers are necessary for videoconferencing.

Course Topics

Courses train students in the fundamentals and execution of empirical research for educational technology. Students review and expand upon current knowledge in the field of technology during their own research and dissertations.

Theories of Educational Technology

This course discusses the history and application of educational theories and their implications in the use of technology. Students examine and evaluate emerging trends in the field.

Educational Technology Research

This class reviews and analyzes past and current research involving instructional technology. It teaches students how to design and implement empirical research projects, including methods and statistical analysis.

Technology and Cognition

This class discusses the effect of computers and other technology on the brain and theories of mind, including their influence on learning. Students predict how knowledge of cognition can shape the creation and development of new instructional technology.

Career Information

Graduates with a master's degree in educational technology can find job opportunities as an educational technologist. Professionals in this field are responsible for improving the quality of education and technology within a school district. According to, the median annual salary for an instructional technology specialist was $60,083 in 2019.

Professionals with a Ph.D in Educational Technology are useful to primary and secondary schools, colleges, universities and online programs. Other potential career fields include curriculum development, educational consulting and multimedia instructional design. According to, multimedia instructional designers had annual salaries between $42,000 and $88,000 in November 2019.

Students interested in studying how technology can be used in the classroom can pursue an online master's or doctorate degree in educational technology to learn about theories and techniques in the field. Graduates of these programs will likely need to acquire state licensure to work in schools as educational technologists, multimedia instructional designers or educational consultants.

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