Online PhD in Educational Leadership through Educational Technology

The online doctorate in Educational Leadership through Educational Technology, or simply Educational Technology, is designed for experienced teachers and instructors who are interested in integrating technology into their classrooms or preparing for careers in educational leadership as school superintendents or curriculum developers. As our world becomes more dependent on ever-evolving technological advancements, implementing technology in the classroom is becoming a necessity, especially since more children are growing up with strong computer and internet influences. By earning this online degree, PhD candidates learn specific methods where technology can be implemented in the classroom to make learning more beneficial and relevant to today's young minds. Earning an online doctorate degree in Educational Leadership through Educational Technology requires time and dedication. Students must spend time learning in an online classroom and participating in annual face-to-face meetings. They must to be able to manage their time appropriately so they can complete the necessary courses while conducting research and working towards a dissertation. Individuals who want to pursue three-year online PhD programs in Educational Leadership through Educational Technology from an accredited university should have previously completed master’s degree programs in Educational Technology, Instructional Design and Technology, or Academic Leadership, to name few. As stated before, most PhD candidates in Educational Technology programs have several years of experience as teachers, principals, directors of technology for a school district or members of a school board.

About Online PhD Programs in Educational Leadership through Educational Technology

Online doctoral programs are usually more interactive than traditional courses. Learners are expected to participate in weekly discussion boards, group projects, study scholarly readings, and write lengthy papers. In addition to course work, PhD in Educational Leadership through Educational Technology candidates must conduct in-depth research within their area of interest and write a dissertation reporting the findings and discussing future implications. Online schools such as the University of Phoenix and Walden University offer this PhD exclusively online, while other institutions, such as Michigan State University's College of Education, offer a more integrated approach. Through their hybrid Educational Psychology and Educational Technology PhD program, students must attend both on-campus classes as well as classes online. If you are interested in studying some of the more psychological and theory-based aspects of education, this type of program may be better suited for you. Otherwise, an exclusively online course at University of Phoenix that only focuses on the leadership and technological aspects of education and research should be enough to suit your learning needs.

Year One:

  • Social Contexts and Contemporary Issues. This University of Phoenix foundation course explores the historical concepts, demographic trends and current issues regarding education, its institutions, unionization, technology, and diversity.
  • Quantitative Methods in Educational Research I & II. Techniques of data collection and analysis of educational research are reviewed and explored in these two foundational courses that focus on multiple regression, analysis of variance, and basic principles of experimental design in educational applications.
  • Introduction to Educational Inquiry. In this Michigan State University course, students are asked to approach alternatives to educational research such as theoretical assumptions, sources of questions, rhetoric, and data collection and analysis.

Year Two:

  • Educational Technology and Research. With more of an emphasis on educational technology research, this course focuses on learner control, media preference, motivation, collaborative learning, and computer-mediated communication.
  • Practicum in Research Design and Data Analysis. Students design, execute, analyze, present, critique and revise a variety of educational research projects.
  • Leadership in Contemporary Organizations. In this course at University of Phoenix, students learn about the influence of leadership on administration and management within a learning organization.

Year Three:

  • Planning and Leading Change. This course instructs students on how to manage and lead change, counteract resistance to change, and the politics and economics of change.
  • Integrating Technology and Curriculum. This course helps students develop strategies for effective and appropriate integration of digital technology and educational goals and balancing the competing priorities of technology and curriculum decisions.
  • Doctoral Dissertation Research. At Michigan State University, the dissertation courses require at least 24 semester credit hours.

The University of Phoenix requires that Educational Leadership through Educational Technology attend residencies to complete their doctoral degree. These residencies are three-to-eight day seminars that are strategically placed throughout the candidate's degree program and held in select cities around the country. Walden University's Educational Technology online PhD program requires four residencies to equal a minimum of 16 credit units. The program at Michigan State University, however, is a hybrid program and does require that classes be taken on campus in addition to online.

Value and Criticisms of a PhD in Educational Technology

By earning the highest level degree in a specialized discipline such as Educational Leadership through Educational Technology, you can become an expert in an expanding field. Earning the doctoral degree online is also an asset because you will be utilizing a platform through which the future of educational technology depends, which is learning over the internet. This can enhance your learning experience as well as your research. Additionally, the focuses of this degree seem to be different from institution to institution, which means that you can find the school that best suits your interest as each program in this subject is more specific and specialized. However, this is also a criticism of earning this particular PhD, simply because there are no two exact Educational Technology PhD programs. Furthermore, there are many traditional brick-and-mortar institutions that offer this degree, and with those schools come more financial aid opportunities. It may be best to try a hybrid learning model such as the one that Michigan State University provides. While you would have to attend classes on campus (and live in or close to Michigan), you would have better opportunities for scholarships, fellowships, and one-on-one interaction with professors and classmates. Finally, a PhD is not necessary to earn a job in this field and although it may help with increasing your salary or advancing your career, it is not guaranteed.

Application & Admission Requirements

To be considered for admission into the University of Phoenix's Educational Technology program, applicants must have a master's degree from an approved, accredited college as well as official transcripts. Applicants must also have maintained a minimum 3.0 cumulative GPA, must currently possess a membership in a research library and have three years of professional work experience in a leadership position. Admission into Michigan State University's hybrid PhD program requires a completed application to the Michigan State University graduate school, a completed application to the Department of Counseling, Educational Psychology & Special Education (CEPSE), two official copies of post secondary transcripts and GRE scores. Prospective candidates must also submit a vita or résumé, a writing sample, three recommendation letters, and a statement of research goals in order to be considered for acceptance into the program. For admission to Walden University's online Educational Technology PhD program, applicants must submit a completed online application, a detailed résumé, official post secondary transcripts, and a personal statement.

Career Options & Job Market

Upon completion of an online doctoral program in Educational Leadership with a specialization in Educational Technology, graduates have many career options to choose from. As an educational technologist, graduates can develop ways to implement technology to teach various ideas or concepts to students. The median annual salary for educational technologists was $58,780 in 2009. Another career opportunity is a curriculum developer or instructional coordinator, which according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, earns a median annual salary of $56,880 and develops the curriculum for different grade levels while integrating technology into the classroom. As an educational software developer, you can write educational programs that are technologically based and earn on average about $69,620 a year. Directors of academic technology oversee the incorporation of technological equipment in the classroom and can earn around $60,000 annually depending on their location. While these positions do not require a PhD, having one may lead to a salary increase or job advancement.

Where to Find Information

How to Get Funding

Tuition at the University of Phoenix for the online Leadership in Educational Technology PhD program is $770 per credit. The University of Phoenix does not offer any scholarships specific to the program, but encourages students to apply for external scholarships and to apply for financial aid by filing a FAFSA yearly. The cost of the University of Michigan's hybrid PhD program in Educational Psychology and Educational Technology is $850 per credit. University of Michigan has several scholarships and fellowships available for doctoral students attending the College of Education. The U.S. Department of Education's Office of Educational Technology also offers research grants for Educational Technology students.

  • Michigan State University Fellowship Program. For newly admitted doctoral students (who are automatically considered), assistantships and fellowships totaling $24,000 are awarded annually for five years. Applicants must be full-time students while receiving the award.
  • TEACH Grant. Funded by the United States Department of Education, TEACH Grant provides up to $4,000 per year to graduate students enrolled in a TEACH Grant Program.
  • Don E. Ackerman Research Fellowship. For Walden Univeristy's online PhD students, this fellowship provides funding for up to $10,000 toward student research projects. Applicants who have received Walden research fellowships in the last 5 years are not eligible to apply.

Essential Advice

  • Weigh your options and do the research. You'll need to know for sure whether an additional degree will increase your earning potential more than a bachelor's or master's degree in a similar field would.
  • Try to obtain a scholarship, fellowship or grant. Studying at a PhD level is costly, and you may not be able to predict how many years it will take you to complete it.
  • Talk to current PhD candidates and graduates about course load, time management, what admission materials they submitted, and so on. This is the best way to learn if the program is right for you.
  • Check the school's credentials. Once you find a program, make sure it is accredited by an accrediting institution recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.