Skip To Content

Graduate Calendar 2011|12

MEd Program Structure

MEd Program Structure

Thirty-three credits are required to complete the MEd program. These credits can be earned in one of two ways.

  1. Thesis Route: The curriculum requirement for the thesis route consists of six core courses, one elective course, and 12 credits of thesis work. Normally, students will register in thesis credit after completion of the core courses.

    For those individuals pursuing the thesis route, a thesis (12 credits) provides an opportunity for investigating a novel question or synthesizing/applying what has been learned in the course work. Students must register in MDDE 701, MDDE 702, MDDE 703, and MDDE 704, as they proceed to complete the thesis requirements.

  2. Course-based Route: The curriculum requirement for the course-based route consists of six core courses and five elective courses. At the conclusion of course work, a written comprehensive examination or e-portfolio and an oral defense must be passed.

Program Status

To maintain program status, students must complete 6 credits of course or thesis work during each academic year (September 1 to August 31). In core courses, the lowest acceptable grade is B-. Students who receive a grade lower than B-, or receive more than one grade of B- or lower, may be required to withdraw from the program.

In elective courses, the lowest acceptable grade is C+. Students who receive a grade lower than C+, or receive more than one grade of C+ or lower, may be required to withdraw from the program.

Residency

To meet the residency requirements, students must

  1. for the Thesis Route, complete a minimum of three courses (nine credits) from the core curriculum and complete the thesis through Athabasca University.
  2. for the Course-based Route, complete a minimum of three courses (nine credits) from the core curriculum, a minimum of four elective courses (12 credits) through Athabasca University, and pass the written comprehensive examination or e-portfolio and oral defense at the conclusion of the course work.

Full- and Part-Time Involvement

Students may study in the program on a full- or part-time basis. Part-time students must complete a minimum of six credits (two course equivalents) per calendar year. In order to comply with Alberta Students Finance Board requirements, and to qualify for full-time status at the graduate studies level for funding and T2202A purposes, students must complete a minimum of nine credits (three course equivalents) per calendar year.

DEFINITIONS

100% Course Load: 12 credits per 12-month period (1 credit per month)
60% Course Load: 9 credits per 12-month period (.75 credit per month), this is the minimum that is required to qualify for T2202A. Student Financial Aid, and any other confirmation of full-time status.
Term: A four-month study period.

GUIDELINES

  1. To be considered for a 60 per cent course load, students are required to register in at least one, three-credit course per term to be considered full time.
  2. To be considered for a 100 per cent course load, students are required to submit a full year's study plan (three terms). Students must identify at least 12 credits of study covering a full 12-month period.

    For example:

    3 credits for Term 1
    6 credits for Term 2
    3 credits for Term 3
  3. Student who request certification of a 100 per cent course load must identify their full 12-month study plan at the commencement of their first term of studies. Student are permitted to use any number of combination of credits in their three identified terms provided the total number of credits is equal to 12.

    For example:

    Scenario #1 Scenario #2 Scenario #3
    3 credits for Term 1 6 credits for Term 1 3 credits for Term 1
    6 credits for Term 2 3 credits for Term 2 3 credits for Term 2
    3 credits for Term 3 3 credits for Term 3 6 credits for Term 3

For more information about full- and part-time status, please refer to the Office of the Registrar's student financial aid information.

Contact AU Student Financial Aid

Office of the Registrar
1 University Drive
Athabasca, AB T8S 3A3
1.800.788.9041
Fax 780.675.6174
sfa@athabascau.ca

Courses

Courses are designed to encourage self-study either at home or in the workplace. In individualized study courses, each course comprises a basic materials package of print and, at times, other media.

In addition, students are expected to use computer mediated communications for the following purposes:

  • instructor and student-to-student interactions in computer conferences;
  • e-mail, both within and outside of the course structure;
  • file transfer or file attachment of assignments and feedback between instructor and students and between students on joint projects; and
  • accessing electronic databases (for example, Athabasca University‚Äôs Library).

REQUIRED CORE COURSES

MDDE 601 Introduction to Distance Education and Training (3)
MDDE 602 Research Methods in Distance Education (3)
MDDE 603 Foundations of Instructional Design: Systems Analysis and Learning Theory (3)
MDDE 604 Instructional Design in Distance Education (3)
MDDE 605 Planning and Management in Distance Education and Training (3)
  Final core course requirement is to complete a technology course from the list of MEd courses or a technology course approved as advance credit or transfer credit. (Technology courses are indicated by an (*) below. (3)

The core curriculum is an integrated arrangement of courses covering the field of distance education and training. The six core courses (18 credits) review current knowledge, theory, and practice in distance education and training.

The core courses provide students with the skills and knowledge that will facilitate their understanding and ability to analyze, synthesize, evaluate, create, and implement distance education and training courses, programs, and systems. Core courses in the MEd are offered three times a year.

ELECTIVE COURSES

MDDE 610 Introduction to Current Distance Education Technologies * (3)
MDDE 611 Foundations of Adult Education (3)
MDDE 612 Experiential Learning (3)
MDDE 613 Adult Education and Life Long Learning (3)
MDDE 614 International Issues in Open and Distance Learning (3)
MDDE 615 Human Factors in Educational Technology * (3)
MDDE 617 Program Evaluation in Distance Education (3)
MDDE 618 Instructional Project Management (3)
MDDE 619 Trends and Issues in Instructional Design (3)
MDDE 620 Advanced Technology for Distance Education and Training * (3)
MDDE 621 Online Teaching and Learner Support Technologies in Distance Education * (3)
MDDE 650 Tutoring and Student Support in Distance Education and Training (3)
MDDE 651 Gender Issues in Distance Education (3)
MDDE 660 Professional Seminar in Distance Education (3)
MDDE 661 Seminar Topics in Educational Conferencing * (3)
MDDE 662 Seminar Topics in Evaluating Conferencing Software * (3)
MDDE 663 Emerging Issues on International Distance Education * (3)
MDDE 664 New Perspectives in Asian Distance Education * (3)
MDDE 665 Collaboration and Mentoring in Educational Environments (3)
MDDE 690-691 Independent Study (3)

* Elective courses listed above with an asterisk may be used to fulfill the technology core course requirement.

Elective courses are designed to complement the core curriculum and expand basic knowledge, theory, and practice into areas and issues of individual interest or concern. These courses allow students to specialize in particular topics or learn new sets of skills necessary for research and practice in distance education and training. Some elective courses may not be available every year and a growing list of electives will emerge as student and faculty interests change and develop.

Normally, elective courses may be taken concurrently with core courses. Students may obtain advanced credit for an elective course and may be encouraged to take an elective course from other institutions. Permission of the program director is required before courses are taken for MEd program credit outside Athabasca University. Students may also be encouraged to work on subject-matter areas or skills with individual faculty members as a way to fulfill elective requirements. To facilitate this involvement with faculty, students may register in MDDE 690 Independent Study in three-credit blocks (equivalent to a three-credit course). Normally, no more than six credits may be earned as individualized study.

Thesis Credits

Thesis credits consist of four, three-credit elements, namely, MDDE 701, MDDE 702, MDDE 703, and MDDE 704. With the exceptions of MDDE 701 and MDDE 702, these elements are not conventional courses; however, they are treated similarly for administrative purposes.

MDDE 701: Advanced Research Methods (three credits) This is the first of the four, three-credit course designations that is to be taken by students who have opted to pursue the thesis route. The course focuses on both quantitative and qualitative data analysis methods. The concepts and skills that will be acquired will provide the student who is pursuing the thesis route with (1) the development of competencies in commonly used statistical tests, both parametric and non-parametric, and (2) the development of competencies in the predominant qualitative approaches (biography, phenomenology, grounded theory, ethnography, case study) and associated data analytic techniques. Both types of data analyses will be carried out using computer-based tools (e.g., SPSS, N-Vivo). Students will be expected to seek research reports in distance education that are reflective of these two methodological approaches and to integrate those findings with their course assignments.

Students who successfully complete MDDE 701 but who opt to pursue the course-based program route, will be granted three elective credits.

Prerequisite: MDDE 602 or permission of the instructor.

MDDE 702: Research proposal writing (three credits) is the second element of the thesis work. This three-credit course focuses on the integration of the competencies acquired in MDDE 602 and MDDE 701 with the generation of a formal research proposal. A comprehensive review of the literature that addresses the student's topic of interest, and an in-depth analyses or masters' level mini-proposals and theses will be carried out. Finally, a systematic set of procedures for the generation of a formal research proposal will be implemented.

All students taking the thesis route must successfully complete both MDDE 701 and MDDE 702 before they can register in MDDE 703.

Students who successfully complete MDDE 702 but who opt to pursue the course-based route will be granted three elective credits.

Prerequisite: MDDE 701 and MDDE 702.

MDDE 703 (three credits) is the third element of the thesis work. Students can register in MDDE 703 any time after they have successfully completed MDDE 702, have established a thesis supervisory committee consisting of a supervisor and at least one other committee member, and have produced an acceptable thesis formal proposal. The focus in MDDE 703 and MDDE 704 (below) is the implementation of the student's formal research proposal after ethical review under the supervision of the student's thesis committee.

Prerequisite: MDDE 701 and MDDE 702.

MDDE 704 (three credits) is the fourth element of thesis work and is a continuation of the work in MDDE 703. Students should register in MDDE 704 in the term in which they anticipate completing the thesis work and in which they will defend their research in an oral examination.

Advanced Standing

Some students may have completed course work at other post-secondary institutions that is applicable to the MEd program. After being admitted to the MEd program, students may request a review of such course work. A faculty committee will review such work to determine if the student should be awarded advanced standing and/or "not to takes" for specific courses in the MEd program.

Students seeking advanced standing will be required to submit official transcripts (if these were not submitted in support of their application for admission) and the appropriate evaluation fee to the MEd program director for review. Students may also be required to submit detailed course descriptions for such courses. Failure to supply either transcript or detailed course descriptions (if required) shall result in no advanced standing being awarded.

Students will not be awarded advance standing for courses previously used towards the granting of another credential.

In addition, students may be able to build on prior learning experiences and receive credit through independent study (MDDE 690). For more information, students should contact their program advisor.

Transfer Credit

Students enrolled in the MEd program may take courses from other post-secondary institutions in fulfilment of the program requirements, provided such courses are applicable to Athabasca University's MEd program. Students wishing to take courses from other institutions must submit a Letter of Permission Request Form and applicable fee, a rationale for how the course will fill an MEd requirement (e.g., as an elective course, or in lieu of a specific course), and detailed course outlines to the MEd program director for review.

If approved, the Centre for Distance Education will issue a Letter of Permission. To allow for mailing time, requests for a Letter of Permission should be made at least one month before the registration deadline at the institution where the student will be taking the course. Upon completion of the course, the student must submit an official transcript to the Centre for Distance Education in order to obtain credit for the course.

Program Delivery

The program is offered during three semesters each year. Each semester is 13 weeks in length. The fall semester begins the second Monday in September. The winter semester begins the second Monday in January. The spring/summer semester begins the last Monday in April.

All course work should be completed during the semester periods. Extensions to these timelines may be granted, if circumstances warrant, through the granting of an Incomplete (refer to Course-Related Procedures).

 

Information effective Sept. 1, 2011 to Aug. 31, 2012.

Updated October 16, 2013