Department of Educational Administration


Date of this Version

Fall 10-2012


A DISSERTATION Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Doctor of Education, Major: Educational Studies, Under the Supervision of Professor Marilyn L. Grady. Lincoln, Nebraska: October, 2012

Copyright (c) 2012 Tami Marie Moskal


Research about the preparation and competencies of instructional designers in higher education has not been addressed. The purpose of this multiple case study was to explore individuals in this context by focusing on their employment and academic backgrounds, as well as their responsibilities, qualifications, and expectations as reported by their supervisors. This study sought to understand who the instructional designers in higher education are, and how they came to their roles in their institutions. An understanding of these instructional designers in higher education could lead to improved teaching and learning experiences for students in higher education.

Five themes emerged from the cases studied: flexibility; moral purpose; relationship building; time and project management; and ongoing professional development.

Instructional designers do more than design instructional experiences. They are informal leaders who have an immediate and profound effect on the future of higher education. Their role in distance education is redefining how we educate students, and is shaping distance education, and, ultimately, the face of the institutions in which they work.

Adviser: Marilyn L. Grady