Advice for Aspiring Ed Tech Doctoral Students

From time to time I get email from people considering a doctoral degree in Educational Technology. Tonight I think I wrote a fairly good (and brief) response, so I thought I’d share an excerpt from it here (the sender had asked for advice on what to research and who to research with, and this was the bulk of my response):

I’d suggest the following…

Research something you are passionate about. As you begin that process you’ll discover the current researchers and practitioners in the field… connect with them. Don’t be a passive consumer of research – whatever program you choose, make sure you take charge of connecting yourself with the community doing the important work in the field you’re passionate about. Also, go into it knowing that this process will change what you’re interested in researching. At the start this is good, because you don’t know what you don’t know, but eventually you’ll need to commit and make your own contribution by completing your own study.

That being said, I can also recommend Walden University’s Educational Technology program (with the caveat that any program is only as good as you make it – and only as good as the people you connect with… be sure to connect with the faculty early and often to discover who you want to work with – and who you want to ignore or stay away from). I found Walden’s program very flexible (in terms of letting me determine the direction of my own research), very resource rich (with faculty and students from around the globe), very inspiring (with a focus on positive social change), and, of course, rigorous and challenging. I also appreciated their hybrid model, with coursework online (which is as it should be for an educational technology degree), face-to-face residencies (which are key for connecting with faculty), and (of course) independent research – just as you’d do anywhere. Here’s a link to the program description:

I hope this helps.

And I hope it might help some of you (or your colleagues) as well. Please comment if you have any feedback or any additional advice. :)