Practicing education professionals have the opportunity to observe firsthand the issues, and sometimes shortcomings, their institutions face each day. This knowledge and on-the-ground experience lends itself to increased opportunities for education professionals. Higher learning institutions are always seeking innovators eager to strengthen curricula, employ emerging technologies, and improve delivery and efficacy in higher education courses. An online doctor of education curriculum teaches students how to develop and apply education-focused leadership theory effectively across all levels. These skills can be applied in higher education institutions to improve and build administrative relationships and create effective policy while also enhancing the student experience.
Skills, Concepts, or Opportunities Gained with an Online Doctor of Education Degree
A typical Doctor of Education (EdD) curriculum consists of courses that can give students in-depth knowledge and skills in several critical aspects of higher education:
- Practice-based research. Effective practice-based research is essential to studying and improving educational outcomes. Students may learn techniques for gathering and analyzing information and using the results of their research to form new understandings of how to improve higher education.
- Reflective leadership practice. Educators face myriad daily choices, such as how to organize curricula, how to best serve students from different backgrounds, and how to structure learning time. Students acquire critical skills to help them make decisions amid evolving situations and solve complex, difficult problems through both reflection and self-reflection.
- Academic leadership strategies. Leaders in higher education must demonstrate managerial capacities—flexibility, adaptability, the ability to strategize, and effectiveness—and must also be resourceful researchers and academic performers. Students pursuing a doctorate in education learn administrative skills to deal with problems and effect long-term change.
- Data analysis. Progress in educational technology has provided tools for measuring students’ performance in tasks, which can increase the relevance and precision of what students learn, allow instructional tailoring to fit students’ specific needs, and provide individualized feedback across a wide range of learning issues. Doctor of Education students will learn data analytics that will aid them in improving their research and analysis skills.
Common Courses for Online Doctor of Education Students
These are some of the common courses offered for this degree. Though actual course titles may vary depending on the university, many higher education programs offer courses that touch on the following concepts:
Educational Research Methods. Students learn how to identify educational research methodologies and methods and understand the importance of research designs and paradigms.
Reflective Leadership Practice and Inquiry. This type of course introduces students to historical and contemporary foundations of higher education, with a specific focus on ethical leadership and reflective practice. Students enrolled in courses like this could be introduced to educational inquiry and could build knowledge and skills in academic research and writing.
Strategic Change and Innovation. As higher education evolves, future leaders need to be prepared to understand, manage, and implement change. Doctor of Education students taking this type of course will focus on change models, barriers and resistance to change, innovation, and the future of higher education. This exposes students to the concept of design thinking as a tool for innovation in higher education.
Leading in a Complex Environment. Students interested in taking on leadership roles in higher education need to understand key policy and legal issues involved in both the public and private spheres. Classes of this type will inform students how policy, law, and finance intersect, and how they are all integrated to solve complex problems.