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Learning Systems Design & Development (LSDD)

In the LSDD focus area you will develop the knowledge and skills to design learning systems and develop the digital media and network applications need to implement them. The courses emphasize learning by doing. You will take on challenging assignments and work collaboratively with both faculty and other students to produce a portfolio that documents your work and accomplishments.

Program options: Masters | Specialist


The program requires 30 credit hours as outlined in LSDD Courses. At least 15 credit hours must be at the 9000 level.

The Specialist degree is a 30-hour program of specialization built upon the master’s degree. It requires 27 credit hours of coursework relevant to the LSDD competencies plus 3 credit hours in ESC_PS 7170: Introduction to Applied Statistics. Use Specialist Degree forms in the Forms section. At least 15 credit hours must be at the 8000/9000 level.

Your first step is to contact your advisor and begin planning your program of study. The course requirements are provided in the Courses section. Look ahead to the Portfolio requirement so that you can work on it throughout your program.

What is a Program of Study?

A Program of Study (PoS) is a listing of the courses you will complete to earn your Master's or Specialist degree. Typically, the Program of Study is submitted for SISLT approval before you are half way through the program. Your advisor will help you develop your own personalized program of study.

Note: A PoS Worksheet to help develop your PoS is provided in the Learning Systems Design & Development Advising Aid for Current Students or Learning Systems Design & Development Advising Aid for Students Admitted SP17 and later. This may assist you in deciding whether prior graduate coursework can be submitted for possible inclusion in your PoS. This PoS Worksheet is NOT the form used to submit your PoS for your degree. You must use the actual forms listed below to submit your program of study.

Planning Your Program of Study—Master's and Specialist Degrees

When you are accepted into the program, you will be assigned a faculty advisor. You should e-mail your advisor to begin the program planning process.

Use the Learning Systems Design & Development Advising Aid for Current Students or Learning Systems Design & Development Advising Aid for Students Admitted SP17 and later to guide your program planning throughout your program. This aid provides information on the steps you go through in your program: Getting Started, Planning Your Program of Study, and Portfolio Preparation.

Develop your program using the M-1 (LSDD) Program of Study Form. This form establishes the courses required for you to earn your degree. It has to be approved by your advisor.

  • Make sure you have at least 15 hours at the 8000- or 9000-level and all required courses, as well as any other requirements.
  • The M-1 Form should be filed with the Student Coordinator by the end of your second semester in the program.

For the Specialist degree, students need to file additional forms:

What Other Graduate Courses Might be Approved in the LSDD Program?

  • University of Missouri graduate courses you have completed to date that are relevant to the LSDD track.
  • Courses from other institutions you wish to have considered for inclusion in your PoS.
  • A maximum of 6 hours may be transferred from another institution with advisor approval.
  • Transfer courses must be documented by an official transcript.
  • A "customized" PoS is sometimes an option. Contact our Student Coordinator for more information.

Making Changes to Your Program of Study

To make changes to your program of study after it is approved and filed, use the Course Substitution Form. New signatures will be needed to process this form through the Student Coordinator.

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You will take 6 credit hours of core courses, 9 credit hours in each area of design and development courses, and 6 credit hours of electives. Plan ahead by checking the Searchable Schedule for All SISLT Courses for course availability.

LSDD Program Competencies

The LSDD program focuses on the following competencies:

  • Conducting needs assessment and evaluating learning systems.
  • Designing learning environments, including systems for direct instruction, constructivist learning, collaborative work, and performance support.
  • Developing learning systems applications or components of applications.

LSDD Course Requirements (Applicable to all students enrolled or admitted as of January, 2012)

The LSDD curriculum reflects the dynamic nature of the field. Your LSDD program of study consists of 30 graduate credit hours. The overall program structure includes coursework in four categories:

  • Core (6 Credit Hours)
  • Design (9 Credit Hours)
  • Development (9 Credit Hours)
  • Electives (6 Credit Hours)

Credit hour limitations:

  • A maximum of 6 hours of transfer credits.
  • A maximum of 12 hours of Problems courses (ISLT 7085 or ISLT 9085)
  • Core Courses (2 courses = 6 credit hours)
  • 9474 Needs Assessment for Instructional Design (3 cr hr)
  • 9455 Summative and Formative Evaluation (3 cr hr)
  • Design Courses (3 courses = 9 cr. hr.)
  • 9456 Designing Computer Support for Collaborative Learning
  • 9478 Designing Problem-Based Learning Environments*
  • 9457 Designing Computer Support for Cooperative Work
  • 9469 Designing Electronic Performance Support Systems
  • 9471 Instructional Systems Design
  • 9485 Designing Online Courses
  • 9461 Interface Design
  • 7383 Rapid Development Tools for Online Learning (3)
  • 7310 Designing Games For Learning (3)
  • Other approved design courses
  • * Offered On-Campus Only
  • Development Courses (3 courses = 9 cr. hr.)
  • 7310: Mobile Apps Development
  • 7357 Web Application Development I
  • 7361: Introduction to Digital Media
  • 7364 Flash Authoring
  • 7370 Intermediate Web Development
  • 9410 Learning Analytics — Graduate Seminar (Online)
  • 7383 Rapid Development Tools for Online Learning (3)
  • 7310 Designing Games For Learning (3)
  • Other approved development courses.

Elective Courses (2 courses = 6 cr hr.)
9468: Task Analysis
9473: Project Management
Any Design or Development courses listed above in addition of those taken to meet requirements
Other courses approved by advisor

Students with limited technical experience are advised to take one introductory course: 7360 Introduction to Web Development. These credit hours are typically not used to meet the minimum credit hour requirement; please consult with your advisor.

Read Course Descriptions

Brief descriptions of all SISLT courses are available at:

About Online Courses

Almost all EdTech courses are delivered to you online via the Internet. Online courses allow you to fit them into your personal schedule and within time frames established by the course instructor. Our courses use two different "course management systems" (CMS): Blackboard and a new CMS called Sakai. Regardless of the CMS, the general process is the same.

Throughout the week, you will:

  • Go to the website for your course(s) and log in.
  • Read recent announcements.
  • Check the discussion board for new postings.
  • Post your ideas and questions to the discussion board.
  • Participate in small group activities and assignments.
  • Read course documents (online postings, website resources, and textbook).

Periodically you will:

  • Complete and submit assigned activities.
  • Participate in peer review and feedback activities.
  • Check your grades.
  • Send/receive emails with your instructor(s).
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Your will develop and present a portfolio of your work to demonstrate your mastery of the LSDD competencies. The portfolio contains descriptions of competencies and what they mean to you, explanations of artifacts, and reflections. You should start on your portfolio early in your coursework.

Portfolio Assessment

The EdTech Master’s and Specialist degree programs culminate in a web-based portfolio showing mastery of the program competencies. The portfolio is used as the comprehensive exam at the end of the program of study. Ideally, your products and process artifacts are added to your portfolio as the work is completed, rather than waiting until the last semester in the program.

While each portfolio is as unique as the individuals in the LSDD focus area, all share the following elements:

  1. Your Program of Study.
  2. Description of the competencies including a reflection about your level of achievement of each competency.
  3. Products and artifacts that demonstrate mastery of the competencies, including reflection statements explaining what you have learned from the work and how the products and artifacts demonstrate your achievement of the associated competency. Also, include a description of your role(s) in group-generated products and artifacts.
  4. Evaluative information regarding the quality of the products.
  5. A statement that represents your understanding of Learning Systems Design & Development and your expectations for how you will use your competencies and talents in a professional context.

Portfolio Details

A portfolio is a website consisting of products and artifacts demonstrating mastery of the LSDD focus area competencies. There may be a few elements that are not actually included in the website (e.g., video clips of needs assessment interviews; a network solution you designed), but there is some representation of these products (e.g., a slide show about the interviews; blue prints or design documents for the network). Larger documents can be included as PDF files.

Creating the portfolio is just like creating any other product: design it, build it, test it, revise it. Periodically, you will probably add something to the portfolio. If you choose to build a website and you don't have easy access to a server to host your portfolio website, an account will be provided for you on a university server. Pre-made templates are not to be used in creating the portfolio.

LSDD Portfolio Preparation and Evaluation

Portfolio preparation should begin early in a student’s program of study. Students who wait until the last semester of their program put themselves under a great deal of counter-productive pressure.

Portfolio coaches are assigned to each student the semester of their intended graduation. The SISLT Student Services Office will notify the student of his/her assigned portfolio coach after each semester’s graduation application deadline has passed. Students must contact their portfolio coach within one (1) week of receiving this notification. Failure to contact the portfolio coach within one week of receiving notification may result in the student's intended graduation date being postponed.

Portfolios can be submitted spring, fall, and summer semesters. Portfolios must be submitted to the assigned portfolio coach for review no later than three (3) weeks prior to the last day of classes; you will be notified by the SISLT Student Services Office of the specific date at the beginning of your final semester.

The student will work with the portfolio coach who will provide feedback and support to the student as she/he prepares the portfolio for review.

The review process asks three basic questions:

  1. Does the portfolio demonstrate the student's knowledge of what the competencies mean?
  2. Does the portfolio demonstrate the student's mastery of the competencies?
  3. Does the portfolio present the student in a positive and professional manner?

Once a portfolio is deemed acceptable or unacceptable by the portfolio coach, the coach will notify the student and the SISLT Student Services Office. Should the portfolio be deemed unacceptable by the portfolio coach, the student may appeal this decision by petitioning the Director of SISLT and requesting that two other faculty review the portfolio.

Portfolio Samples

After Portfolio Approval

Provided you have completed all the coursework listed in your official M-1 (LSDD) Program of Study for Master’s degree, or S-2 Program of Study for Specialist degree, you are ready for graduation!

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The semester before you intend to graduate, you need to apply to graduate. Then once you have completed all the coursework and your portfolio has been presented and passed, you are ready for graduation! Beyond graduation, join the EdTech social media networks to stay involved and informed and contribute to the EdTech community!

Application for Graduation

Prior to your final semester, you need to fill out the Application for Completion Form. This form is available for approximately six weeks prior to the beginning of your final semester. Watch your MU email account for notices from the Graduate School and SISLT Student Coordinator as to when the application will be available.

The Application for Completion is your indication to the Graduate School that you intend to graduate during a particular semester. Fill it out at the beginning of your final semester in the program.

Participation in MU Commencement Ceremony

If you plan on participating in MU’s commencement ceremony, read the Graduate School’s Commencement Ceremony Checklist, including where to obtain regalia. At this site you will find information about times of ceremonies, check-in procedures, and access. The Graduate School will send you details on commencement and you are welcome to attend.

It generally 8-12 weeks from the end of the semester to receive your diploma. If you have questions about your diploma or transcript, you may contact the Office of the Registrar at 1-800-225-6075 or

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If I already have a Master's degree, can I get an Educational Specialist degree?
Yes. Your advisor will work with you to determine which courses you will need to take.
Is it essential that I buy a computer?
No, but you will need ready access to a computer with a good Internet connection.
How long do I have to complete my degree?
You have eight years to complete your degree after you begin taking coursework. You may take one or more classes during a given semester, completing the degree in a time frame that fits your personal schedule. Your advisor will work with you on timing issues.
What about electives? Can I take courses that are not on the list?
Yes. Your advisor will work with you to determine which elective courses are appropriate.
Where can I find more College of Education Online courses?
How is testing done when the classes are on the Internet?
Students are assessed based on many measures, with the most common being course projects and participation in online discussions and activities.
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Needs Assessment for Instructional Design

Course number: 9474 | Credit: 3

Analyze learning and performance needs and opportunities using a systemic framework and associated strategies and techniques. Develop needs assessment instruments, collect data, and prepare recommendations for improvement. Prerequisites: Graduate Standing.

Summative and Formative Evaluation

Course number: 9455 | Credit: 3

Study of the process of gathering data and making judgments about the effectiveness of instructional programs that uses technology. Covers techniques of a formative evaluation process to revise instruction. Culminating project is planning and conducting a portion of a summative evaluation of an instructional program.

Designing Computer Support for Collaborative Learning

Course number: 9456 | Credit: 3

Students examine theoretical bases for using collaboration and social interaction as methods for learning, and explore key functions and approaches for using computers for collaborative learning. Through the use of readings, examples, activities, and discussions the class will build an understanding of the foundations and applications of computer supported collaborative learning. Through participation in a project and online debate, class members will experience working as active and contributing members of an online class and knowledge-building community.

Designing Problem-Based Learning Environments

Course number: 9478 | Credit: 3

This course requires the student to learn about designing constructivist learning environments by designing constructivist learning environments. Throughout the course, students will examine theories, models and activities associated with the design of those environments. The primary goal will be to apply what is learned about those theories to the design of the environment.

Designing Computer Support for Cooperative Work

Course number: 9457 | Credit: 3

Study of the tools and methods of groupware and communities of practice, including their psychological, social and organizational effects. Students focus on designing and developing improved tools and methods. Graded on A/F basis only.

Designing Electronic Performance Support Systems

Course number: 9469 | Credit: 3

Performance support systems (PSS) are technology systems that support human activity within the complexities of organizational requirements and processes. Students build competency for designing PSS.

Instructional Systems Design

Course number: 9471 | Credit: 3

Designing learning experiences for professionals is very different from lesson planning for K-12 students. Learn to analyze professional development needs, select appropriate instructional strategies, translate those strategies into products, and evaluate the quality of your work. The ISD approach produces quality training programs, whether you work for a multi-national corporation or a local school district.

Designing Online Courses

Course number: 9485 | Credit: 3

Students will in the context of course or learning management systems: -Practice designing online lessons within the framework of an entire online course for meaningful learning outcomes -Conduct a formative evaluation of online course materials -Learn about and practice strategies associated with the unique issues of implementing an online course (e.g. designing an overall course structure, designing and running online discussion forums, grading in online courses).

Web Application Development 1

Course number: 7357 | Credit: 3

Web App 1 is an intensive programming course to provide you with hands-on experiences on designing and developing Web-based applications. You will develop fundamental knowledge and skills for Web programming built on what you have learned via the Digital Media Zone courses. You you will learn to use ASP.Net with VB.Net based on Object-oriented programming concepts, and MS SQL server for your client/server applications.

Web Application Development 2

Course number: 7358 | Credit: 3

Web App 2 is an intensive programming course to provide you with hands-on experiences on designing and developing Web-based education applications. Assuming that each student is familiar with Asp.Net, VB.Net, and MS SQL, this course covers advanced web programming techniques and focuses on developing web-based learning applications.

Flash Authoring

Course number: 7364 | Credit: 3

Plan, develop, and evaluate a multimedia project using digital authoring software (Macromedia Flash). Emphasizes instructional design and user interface issues. Course is production-based. Also available as 4364 for undergraduate credit.

Intermediate Web Development

Course number: 7370 | Credit: 3

Ready to take your web development skills to the next level? This course extends your web design and developmental skills, and includes advanced HTML techniques, interactivity through use of JavaScript, and enhanced page design capabilities using Style Sheets.

Introduction to Web Development

Course number: 7360 | Credit: 3

If you've never created a website from scratch, Intro to Web Development is for you. The course will help you learn basic web page design and authoring skills, along with browser/server interaction, directory management, and other technical skills. You will also learn to evaluate your website's impact on communication, understanding, and accessibility.

Introduction to Digital Media

Course number: 7361 | Credit: 3

Multimedia production techniques. This course offers an overview of imaging, audio, and video software as students develop related projects, culminating in a web portfolio. Covers basic principles of digital media design/production and copyright issues. Also available as 4361 for undergraduate credit.

Mobile Apps Development

Course number: 7310 | Credit: 3

Online course provides students with knowledge for creating a mobile app with basic functions using HTML5, Javascript, and CSS3. Content covers both design and development phases. Students will produce a mobile app that can be locally operated via a mobile device.

Project Management

Course number: 9473 | Credit: 3

Online course covers knowledge and tools for major phases of project management: initiation and planning, execution, and project closure. Integrated online discussions focus on application scenarios. Students will plan a project for a client, software/website design, or grant proposal.

Interface Design

Course number: 9461 | Credit: 3

Interface Design is a discipline concerned with the design, evaluation, and implementation of interventions for technology-based or physical tools. Through the use of readings, examples, exercises, and discussions the course will provide an introduction to the basic competencies, processes, and principles of interface and interaction design. The course will explore the application of interface and interaction design in emerging technologies (primarily the Internet) to support learning and performance.

Task Analysis

Course number: 9468 | Credit: 3

Multiple methods for conducting learning and task analysis for learning to identify learning processes, learning topics, and learning experiences, including procedural, prerequisites, cognitive simulations, case libraries, and decision making

Learning Analytics — Graduate Seminar (Online)

Course number: 9410 | Credit: 3

This course on learning analytics will focus on the development of adaptive and adaptable indicators of learning, subject matter interest, and social engagement in various technologically mediated learning environments. Students will be introduced to social network analysis (SNA), Group Informatics, computational linguistics and Bayesian statistical methods. All coding will incorporate adaptations of examples provided by the instructor. No prior programming experience is required.

Rapid Development Tools for Online Learning

Course number: 7383 | Credit: 3

Students will apply principles of rapid development and use rapid development tools to create a prototype of an e-learning module that uses technology features that can enhance learning (e.g. learner interactions).

Designing Games For Learning

Course number: 7310 | Credit: 3