Making the Grade from the Motor City
(written by Bob Evancho, originally published in the BSU Focus magazine, Summer 2000)
Two thousand miles is a long way to come just to pick up a diploma. But for Detroit resident Sam Doyle, there was never any doubt that he would participate in the university’s May 13 commencement and formally receive his master’s degree in instructional and performance technology (IPT). Besides, he wanted to meet his professors and classmates–most of them for the first time.
Thanks to the IPT’s distance-learning option, Doyle is now among the program’s growing number of graduates who have earned their master’s via computer conferencing–an online process that allows students to enroll in the program, “attend” classes at their convenience, study wherever they can take a laptop computer and complete the program from anywhere in the world. In fact, of the 34 IPT graduates from the Class of 2000, Doyle and 17 others went the distance-learning route.
So on the day before he received his degree, Doyle set foot on the Boise State campus for the first time. He says distance was no deterrent. “I’m here to get that sheepskin,” he says with a smile. “I worked too hard for this to not come and get it myself.”
After earning a business degree from Wayne State University, Doyle, 43, embarked on a career as a performance improvement specialist–a career that has spanned three decades and has included employers such as Ford, Unisys and a large law firm. For the last seven years he has worked for Detroit Edison. He is now in the process of leaving the public utility to start his own consulting business in instructional design and job performance improvement.
Doyle says he considers Boise State’s IPT program tailor-made for someone in his profession. “Honestly, it was the most rewarding educational experience I have ever had,” he says. “I was able to collaborate not only with the Boise State professors, but also with fellow students–people in my line of work–from all over the world.
“The program is designed to facilitate adult learners with the understanding that students in this program are self-motivated. It was an unbelievable amount of work, but it was worth it.”
Just like his trip to Boise.
Class of 2000
The Boise State University Instructional and Performance Technology program (via distance education option) effectively guides self-directed learners in building the solid theoretical background needed for designing and managing high performance teams and learning organizations in the 21st century. The program’s combined emphasis on both theory and application in the workplace was aggressive, but balanced.
I have found that the use of groupware to facilitate hundreds of discussions and information exchanges with classmates and professors with multi-disciplinary backgrounds in the workplace has made this educational experience, for me, the most valuable to date.
For these reasons, I believe that the Boise State University IPT (distance education) program is a model for both distance education programs and virtual university initiatives. I highly recommend Boise State to those seeking an advanced degree that blends instructional design and human performance system disciplines.