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Instructional Systems Development

Prospective Students FAQs

GENERAL

How is this program different from other programs in training and instructional design?

The ISD- Training Systems Program offers a variety of flexible options in course topics. Students have the opportunity to choose five elective courses in their program. Coursework can be chosen from areas such as performance improvement, online learning, instructional technology, project management, managing training and performance programs and more. Coursework usually includes hands-on projects that help students reach their professional goals. Our program’s “applied learning” philosophy allows students to work on class projects that often directly relate to assignments within their careers.

When are classes scheduled?

All our courses are scheduled in the evenings (Monday-Thursday from 6 or 7:10 - 9:40 pm) or they are online.  Unfortunately, there are no daytime or weekend courses.   

Do you have online courses?

Yes. Our program is primarily an online program. Please click here to view how courses are offered each semester.

Can I complete the entire Master’s program and Certificate programs online?

Yes. All of the required courses and many electives for the Master’s program can be completed online. Students can complete the entire Master’s degree online (with carefully selected electives). And all the Instructional Systems Development, Instructional Technology, and the Distance Education certificates can all be completed online.

What kind of computer and technical skills do I need for the program?

We expect students to have a working knowledge of:

  • Microsoft Office (Word, Excel and PowerPoint)
  • How to navigate the Internet
  • How to use e-mail
  • How to send files using e-mail or the Internet
  • How to upload and download files from the Internet or in an e-mail

For students taking online courses, you will use “Blackboard,” UMBC’s online learning management system.

I’m not sure online education is for me.  Can I complete most of the Master’s program on-campus?

Most of the required Master courses and many of the Master’s electives are only online. Some courses may be completed on-campus or as a hybrid (mix of online and in-person) version.

ADMISSIONS FOR THE MASTER'S DEGREE

What document do I need to submit to apply for admission to the Master’s degree program?

Students applying for the Master’s degree must submit the following materials:

My Grade Point Average (GPA) isn’t as high as I’d like it to be.  Is it still possible to be admitted to the program?

Yes. It is possible to take courses as a non-degree or as a certificate student and establish an academic track record. This will demonstrate that you have the ability to complete work at a graduate level. Students can then apply for admission to the Master’s degree program and have a much better chance of being accepted.

Are any standardized tests such as the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) or the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) required for admission?

Not for applicants with a Bachelor's degree from a U.S. institution.

What undergraduate major must I have to apply for admission?

No specific undergraduate major is required for admission. We have students who have successfully completed our program with undergraduate degrees that range from Accounting to Zoology.

Is an admission interview required?

No, an interview is not required, but prospective students who may have questions concerning the program can request an interview. This is an opportunity for you to discuss your career plans and see how the program can help you reach your goals. Contact Dr. Gregory Williams, the program director at gregw@umbc.edu.

Can I start in the Certificate program and then continue toward the Master’s program?

Yes. If you are unsure about pursuing the Master’s degree, you can start by taking courses for the certificate program. After the certificate program is completed, students can apply these courses toward the Master’s degree program. All the certificate program courses count toward the Master’s degree.

Are there deadlines for admission applications?   

Applications are accepted for the fall, spring and summer semesters.
FALL APPLICATION DEADLINE: June 1
SPRING APPLICATION DEADLINE: November 1
SUMMER APPLICATION DEADLINE: March 1

Applications that are received at least 8 weeks prior to the start of the semester receive priority. Applications received in this timeframe normally are processed in time for the start of the semester, but there are no guarantees.

ADMISSIONS FOR THE CERTIFICATE PROGRAM

What document do I need to submit to apply for admission to the Certificate program?

Students applying for the Post-Baccalaureate certificate must submit the following materials:

Can I start in the certificate program and then continue toward the Master’s program?

Yes. If you are unsure about pursuing the Master’s degree, you can start by taking courses for the certificate program. After the certificate program is completed, students can apply these courses toward the Master’s degree program. All the certificate program courses count toward the Master’s degree.

Are there deadlines for admission applications?

Applications are accepted for the fall, spring and summer semesters.
FALL APPLICATION DEADLINE: July 1st
SPRING APPLICATION DEADLINE: December 1st
SUMMER APPLICATION DEADLINE: April 1st

FINANCIAL INFORMATION

Do online students have to pay all the same fees as students taking classes on-campus?

No. Online students are only required to pay the tuition and technology fees.

When applying for admissions to an online program, you must select one of the online option codes (EDIO, CISDO, CIELO, CDEO) in order for your fees to be waived.

I am a Veteran. Who would I contact about processing VA benefits?

Please visit the link for UMBC Veteran Services at http://www.umbc.edu/veterans/.

Are payment plans available?

Monthly payment plans are also available. Check the Student Business Services website at http://sbs.umbc.edu/payment-plan/ for more details.

ONLINE LEARNING

What are the major components of an online course?

UMBC’s online courses are administered through a campus management system called Blackboard. It is accessed through the student e-mail account you receive when you first become a student at UMBC. The course is structured around a detailed syllabus that provides students with an assignment schedule and other information they will need to complete the course. Most communication within the course takes place on the Discussion Board, an area on your course website where you participate in class discussions and submit assignments. Tutorials for posting to the Discussion board are available on Blackboard that can be found here.

What is the difference between an asynchronous and synchronous online course?

An asynchronous online course is an eLearning class that does not require students and instructors to be online at the same time. A synchronous online course is an eLearning class that requires students and instructors to be online at the same time. Students can log-in from a PC at any location, as long as it has an internet connection. Please consult the schedule of classes for which method of online delivery and times.

I’m not sure online education is for me. Can I complete the Master’s program on-campus?

No. There are, however, a few courses that can be taken on-campus. (See Course Descriptions)

Is the Master’s Degree completed online accredited?

Yes, UMBC is accredited by the Middle States Association. A Master’s Degree completed online has the same level of accreditation as our traditional on-campus degree.

Do I ever have to come to campus?

Most of our online courses do not require that you come to campus. Some instructors may choose to have an on-campus orientation at the beginning of the course so that students can meet or they may schedule occasional meetings during the semester, depending on student interest.

How many hours do online courses require each week?

Online courses generally require 8-12 hours per week including readings, Internet research, weekly discussions, sending/receiving e-mail, and completing assignments.

Are online courses self-paced?

Our courses are instructor-led, with term start and end dates and due dates for assignments. That being said, most course material is available from the beginning of the semester, and students are free to read ahead or prepare for future assignments as they choose.

Do online courses cost more?

Tuition is the same whether you are an online student or an on-campus student. However, online classes do not required a student to pay certain fees (e.g. parking) that apply only to campus activities.

How do I proceed through a UMBC online course?

Once you are accepted to the program, you will receive a UMBC e-mail account. Near the beginning of the semester, most instructors send their students a “Welcome” e-mail message, notifying them that the course has been activated on Blackboard. You can then go to Blackboard, select your course and read the syllabus thoroughly. From that point, you log on regularly (several times a week) to check announcements from the instructor, post to the Discussion Board, respond to feedback from your classmates and the instructor, and submit assignments.

You can communicate with your instructor through the discussion board, e-mail or by phone. Some instructors also have online office hours.

Also, most assignments are turned in by posting them to the “Discussion Board” or by emailing them to the instructor. In many classes, assignments are always due the same day and time every week (example: Wednesday by 11:59 p.m.).

Are Online Classes Easier than Face-to-Face?

No. Online classes take as much or more time as a class you might take on campus. Online courses are never out of session. Students are expected to log on and contribute to discussion several times a week. That also means reading messages every week from the instructor and other students.

There are no conclusive studies comparing the two methods, but initial studies indicate that online students perform as well or better than their in-class counterparts.

Early single-institution studies and anecdotal evidence suggest that online learning at least holds its own with the face-to-face classroom. For some, in fact, online learning may result in better comprehension.

For any course (including in-person), learning ultimately depends on the quality of the instructor, course material and participation of the students. The method, too, is important. Courses that encourage online discussion and interaction between students, their peers and the instructor typically demonstrate higher levels of participation than traditional courses.


Current Students FAQs

IMPORTANT DATES

How can I find out when the semester starts and ends, when graduation is held, deadlines, and other important dates?

REGISTRATION

When can I register for classes and when is the registration deadline?

It is advisable to register as soon as possible to get the course(s) you want. New students must be admitted before they can register. Please check the Registar's website.

How do I register for classes?

All ISD students must first complete the advising process for authorization to register. Then register for classes online through MyUMBC. Please check the Registrar's website for details.

I am a student in the Master's/certificate program. I do not plan to take any courses in the upcoming semester. What do I need to do?

Please visit the Graduate School website for details. You should notify Renee Eisenhuth, Program Coordinator at reisen@umbc.edu if you plan to not enroll. All students should contact Renee prior to the semester they plan to return in order to follow the proper administrative steps with the Graduate School.

Do I have to complete the Academic Integrity Tutorial?

The Graduate School requires ALL graduate students who have been admitted to a program (Certificate or Master's) to complete the Academic Integrity Tutorial found on the UMBC Blackboard Site. Failure to complete the tutorial and pass the test will result in your registration being blocked for future terms. Information and instructions for completing the tutorial can be found here.

I'm having problems registering, what do I do?

Occasionally you may experience problems with registration. If you receive the "not authorized" message, please check your authorization e-mail to ensure you are trying to enroll in the correct section. You may get a message that states you are "academically ineligible," or "not admitted to University" and other error messages. Please contact Renee Eisenhuth at reisen@umbc.edu for assistance if you have any questions.

ADVISING

Who is my advisor?

The Associate Director is Dr. Chuck Hodell; he is the advisor for all ISD-TS students. He can be reached at hodell@umbc.edu. Click Here for the advising page with the Academic Planning Form.

How do I know what courses to take each semester for the certificate program?

Each certificate program requires four courses and no electives. Students should take the courses listed on the ISD website. Click Here to learn more about the Advising procedure.

How do I know what courses to take each semester for the ISD-TS Master’s program?

The Master's program has 7 required courses and 5 electives courses. A variety of factors should be considered when choosing electives, such as the student's career goals and professional interests. Students should consult with Dr. Hodell concerning their choice of electives. A listing of the required and electives courses can be found here.

When are the required courses offered?

Courses are offered in the Fall, Spring and Summer. Check the ISD program Course Schedule on the ISD program website for mode of delivery each semester.

Does the program accept transfer credits? What is process and criteria for transferring credit?

Yes, a maximum of 6 credits (2 courses) may be transferred into UMBC from other schools. Tansfer courses may only be considered for an ISD elective. The course must be at the graduate level, must have been taken less than five years ago, and may not have been used to earn another degree. Additional criteria and the process to transfer credits can be found on the Graduate School website.

All 12 hours (4 courses) taken for an ISD certificate must be taken at UMBC. These ISD UMBC graduate certificates courses may be applied towards the Master's degree.

CURRICULUM QUESTIONS

How can I get a copy of the course syllabus?

Faculty members usually make their course syllabus available to students on the first day of class. You may also contact Renee Eisenhuth, Program Coordinator at reisen@umbc.edu.

I see that the Master's program has a required internship.  How does that work?

This Master's program emphasizes applied learning. It is important for students to be able to apply what they have learned in a professional setting. Given that, the internship can be completed in two ways. The first is for the student to complete a traditional internship where they report to and work at the sponsoring organization's workplace. The second way to complete the internship is to choose an internship project that can be completed using more of an independent consulting approach. Using this approach, students would meet with clients to map out the goals and specific deliverables for the internship. Students may have periodic meetings with the client organization, but would not be required to perform the work on-site. Students will be required to draft an internship proposal which describes what they will do, the project deliverables and method of evaluation. The internship proposal is subject to approval by the client organization and Dr. Williams.

I am a full-time employee.  How can I complete the internship without quitting my job or taking leave?

As described above, students can complete the internship by choosing a project that can be completed using an independent consulting approach. Using this approach, students meet with the client to map out the goals and specific deliverables of the internship. A student may have periodic meetings with the client organization, but are not required to perform the work on-site. 

What's the difference between the Internship (EDUC 792T) and the Final Project Seminar (EDUC 794)?

The Final Project Seminar course (EDUC 794) is a capstone course where students complete a comprehensive project that ties together things that they have learned throughout the program. The internship course (EDUC 792T) is an opportunity for students to gain either initial or additional experience with a live client organization. This is done by completing a project that will be delivered to the client at the end of the course. The project or assignment(s) for the internship do not have to be as comprehensive in scope as the Final Project Seminar course. For further details, check the syllabus for each course. 

GRADUATION REQUIREMENTS

How many credits are required for graduation?

36 credits for the Master's Degree.

What is the portfolio?

The professional portfolio is a graduation requirement, for those admitted to the Master's degree beginning with the fall 2012 semester, that is in addition to completing your coursework. It is to provide students an opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned in their coursework and the program. Please view the Graduation Information page for additional information on the portfolio.

I am finishing all my coursework soon.  What do I need to do to apply for graduation?

Please check the Graduate School website for details on paperwork to be completed and the deadlines for each semester. In addition to the Graduate School deadlines, the comprehensive exam or portfolio must be completed in the semester you take your final coursework. Students will need to submit to the ISD program staff the application for the Comprehensive Exam by the same date you submit your diploma application. View the Graduation Information page for additional information.

COMMUNICATION

How do I get a UMBC e-mail account? Do I need one to register?

Students are required to establish a UMBC e-mail address in order to register.  You will need your campus ID and date of birth to create an account.  Go to: https://webadmin.umbc.edu/admin

How does the ISD Program communicate with the students?

The ISD Current Students mailing list is the primary method of communication with students. It is an e-mail distribution list where important information for current students is regularly distributed. Student's UMBC e-mail address will be added to the current students list at the start of the semester.  Besides receiving important information about the ISD program, students also receive pertinent information regarding the semester, events and special meetings.   If you have another e-mail account that you use frequently, your UMBC e-mail can forwarded to the mail account of your choice.  Visit the Personal Profile section of MyUMBC and click on "mail forwarding address."

What is Blackboard?

Blackboard is the learning platform that UMBC uses for online and hybrid (combination face-to-face and online).  To log in, visit http://blackboard.umbc.edu/. To learn more, view the Blackboard help section.

IMPORTANT CONTACTS

Who should I contact with more questions?

ISD Training Systems Program
Dr. Greg Williams, Graduate Program Director
Dr. Chuck Hodell, Associate Director and Advisor
Renee Eisenhuth, Program Coordinator
For questions relating to domestic MS applicants: Kathie Nee
For questions relating to international applicants: Kathy Ruth
For questions relating to Certificate and Non-Degree applicants: Scott Phillips





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