Using Project-Based Assessments for Measuring Instructional Designer Competence in an Online Masters of Science Program

Concurrent Session 4
Streamed Session

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Session Materials

Brief Abstract

Participants learn how an online master’s program in instructional design and technology was developed for accelerated competency-based and course-based options by leveraging a project-based approach that ensures learners demonstrate mastery of IDT competencies by producing artifacts representative of the range of authentic performances expected of 21st century IDT professionals.


Lisa Johnson has served as an assistant professor and instructional design specialist with the College of Education at Ashford University since 2012. Prior to this service she worked twelve years with the Colorado Community Colleges Online consortium. Dr. Johnson earned degrees in anthropology (B.A.), education (Ed.M.), and instructional design (Ph.D.) from the Florida State University, Georgia State University, and Capella University respectively. She has designed and facilitated online courses in the higher education context since the late-1990s. She has also served as an instructional technologist and an associate director of training and professional development in addition to faculty roles. Dr, Johnson's research interests are in the disciplines of applied anthropology and education, with particular emphases in topics related to andragogy, geragogy, online community formation and sustainability, academic qaulity and integrity, and collaboration.

Extended Abstract

Participants in this session will learn how Ashford University’s College of Education developed an online Instructional Design and Technology Masters of Science program (MSIDT) that includes both accelerated competency-based and course-based completion options. This session includes a description of how a project-based curriculum strategy was leveraged to ensure learners are able to demonstrate mastery of program learning outcomes. Participants will also learn how the program emphasizes activities that can facilitate the transfer of essential and advanced IDT knowledge and skills into multiple workplace contexts to support Ashford University’s commitment to workplace readiness and career advancement for program graduates.  Additionally, participants will hear how the projects and related activities lead to learner production of artifacts for inclusion in a program eportfolio that are representative of the range of authentic performances expected of 21st century IDT professionals.

Session Topic Outline:

I. Process used to design masters-level projects representing an internationally validated set of IDT competencies.

II. Process for developing curriculum for the course-based option that corresponds to the curriculum in the accelerated competency based option.

III. Comparison and contrast of the advantages and disadvantages of each program option.

IV. Overview of the faculty and student service model designed to meet the needs of each program option.

Session Goals:

  • Share the process of developing project based program work that represents internationally validated competencies.
  •  Share the process of developing a Masters level program with two completion options: one CBE and one traditional. 
  • Share lessons learned (from a program/curriculum design perspective) in regards to the university’s first competency based program
  • Share milestones and assessment practices within the programs that assure learning effectiveness
  • Further the dialogue of various approaches to competency based learning.