Interview with Kioh Kim, Ph.D. - Director of the Ed.D. in Curriculum and Instruction at The University of Louisiana Monroe

About Kioh Kim, Ph.D.: Kioh Kim is the Director of the Ed.D. in Curriculum and Instruction at The University of Louisiana Monroe. As Director, he oversees curriculum development, advises all incoming students, and ensures students have the research support they need to progress on their dissertation or capstone. He also teaches numerous courses within the Ed.D. in Curriculum and Instruction and M.Ed. in Educational Technology Leadership, including Educational Research and Inquiry, Technology Planning and Administration, Social Media Applications, and Instructional Technology Research, Evaluation, and Assessment. In 2016, Dr. Kim received the Foundation Award for Excellence in Service from the University of Louisiana Monroe. He earned his Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction, with a specialization in Instructional Technology, from the University of Wyoming.

Interview Questions

[] Could you please provide an overview of The University of Louisiana Monroe’s Online Ed.D. in Curriculum and Instruction? What are the key learning outcomes for this program, and what types of careers/career advancements does it prepare students for?

[Dr. Kim] Our online Ed.D. in Curriculum and Instruction accepts students from a wide variety of areas–not just education, but also music, business, math, and other arenas. As long as they have a master’s degree and are interested in learning advanced concepts in effective education and educational theories, they might be a good fit for our program. Students take the following core courses: Educational Research and Inquiry, Applied Statistical Analyses, Instructional Design and Technology Integration, Qualitative and Quantitative Methods in Educational Research, Education for Diversity in a Global Society, and Research in Effective Teaching and Learning. These courses are really geared towards empowering students with the methods, skills, and materials to craft their own curricula, instructional designs, and learning systems.

In addition to the courses listed previously, students have a Doctoral Proseminar, which is their chance to bring their own previous educational background from their master’s level into this class and discuss it with their peers. In this class, students discuss what they have previously found in their research and how it is relevant to what they want to study and research in our program.

This program is 100 percent online, and students interact with each other and their instructors through discussion forums. We also hold students’ comprehensive exams online and they complete their dissertation proposal defense and final defense remotely as well, so we’ve made great efforts to ensure the program is very flexible for our working students.

[] Could you please elaborate on the online learning technologies that The University of Louisiana Monroe’s Online Ed.D. in Curriculum and Instruction uses to deliver course materials and facilitate interaction between students and faculty?

[Dr. Kim] We currently use the online learning management system Moodle, and students and faculty communicate with each other almost daily on this platform. Moodle is the place where professors put their video recorded or/and written lectures, and students submit assignments and interact with the professor and other students. Most class activities are asynchronously conducted. Because most students work full time in their professions, the times when they come to the Moodle class are different. All faculty teaching online Moodle classes have office hours. During these office hours, faculty are in their offices to be always ready to consult students via phone and video chat as well as email.

[] Students of The University of Louisiana at Monroe’s Online Ed.D. in Curriculum and Instruction can choose between a traditional dissertation, a capstone project, and a three-paper dissertation. May we have more information on these three options, and what they entail?

[Dr. Kim] Students in our program can choose from one of three options for their dissertation. There is the traditional dissertation, the three-paper format dissertation, and a capstone option.

Our traditional dissertation follows a format of five chapters, with the first chapter being the introduction, the second being the literature review, the third being research methodology, the fourth being results, and the fifth being discussion of those results. Most students are conducting their own research through qualitative and/or quantitative means. With regards to topics, many of our students are schoolteachers who are working in a school district, while others are principals or other leaders who want to take the next step in their administrative careers. Many of them have already been conducting their own research based on the subjects they are teaching, and they want to increase their teaching quality and their students’ learning outcomes by collecting data. Other students want to investigate different teaching methodologies or technologies to discover which one would work best for the students in their class, school, or school district.

The three-paper dissertation option essentially consists of the student writing three publishable journal articles. And at the final submission of their dissertation, these articles would comprise chapters two, three, and four of their five-chapter dissertation, with the introduction and discussion chapters being an introduction to and a discussion of their three research papers.

The Capstone is a cohesive body of work comprised of an investigation of a problem of practice (POP) within a discipline. The POP is an identified area of concern gleaned from an examination of the context of said discipline. An Action Plan includes a proposed solution, feasibility of implementation, predicted impact and outcomes of the plan. Delivery of the Action Plan is conducted onsite at agreed upon location. Their final presentation to their committee will then include the insights they have gained from said implementation and interpretation. This was a great addition to our program because then students could be more tactical in their research.

Regardless of the option they choose, all students receive the support of a dissertation/capstone chair and three other faculty members who make their committee. Students discuss their research ideas and their process in-depth with their committee, and it is to this committee that they present their dissertation proposal and final dissertation defense/capstone defense. Throughout students’ work on their dissertation or capstone, their committee is advising them. For example, the purpose of the proposal presentation is for the student’s committee members to offer advice and suggestions so that the student can make modifications to their research study before launching into the main portion of their work.

[] The University of Louisiana Monroe’s Online Ed.D. in Curriculum and Instruction also requires students to take a comprehensive exam. What does the comprehensive exam entail, what process do students undertake to complete it, and what kinds of faculty/peer support do they receive during their work?

[Dr. Kim] The comprehensive examination takes place right after students finish their coursework, and just prior to their embarking on their main dissertation work. Students’ committee also plays a role in their comprehensive examination, as it is these four faculty members (their dissertation major professor and three other committee members) who formulate the questions for the student’s exam. The timing of the comprehensive examination is important, because when the committee reads a student’s responses it can help inform their understanding of his or her research interests.

[] What role does faculty mentorship play in The University of Louisiana Monroe’s Online Ed.D. in Curriculum and Instruction? How can students make the most of these mentorship opportunities and support systems while in the program? More broadly, is there anything you would like students to know about the School of Education, such as its mission or additional resources that the School offers its online students?

[Dr. Kim] In addition to the dissertation committee, students also have access to their major professor, who offers a great deal of support and guidance as students navigate their course of study in the program. Furthermore, I as Program Director advise all the students in terms of their programs and coursework before they select their dissertation chair and committee members. A student chooses a major professor among all the School of Education graduate faculty based on the faculty’s research background and the student’s research interest. Then, the major professor discusses with the student to choose three committee members. The major professor gives the student the guidelines of dissertation proposal, IRB (institutional review board) request to conduct a dissertation research, and dissertation defense.

[] For students interested in The University of Louisiana Monroe’s Online Ed.D. in Curriculum and Instruction, what advice do you have in terms of submitting a competitive application?

[Dr. Kim] When students contact me to ask me for advice on applying to this program, I tell them that, while we are a high-demand program, we also accept a wide range of individuals. As mentioned previously, we not only admit people who work in elementary, secondary and higher education, but also individuals in the sciences, the health sciences, the corporate world, government, and more. So I would say do not let your unconventional background deter you from applying if you have a master’s degree, can demonstrate writing and research skills, and have a clear purpose in coming to our program.

[] What makes the University of Louisiana Monroe’s Online Ed.D. in Curriculum and Instruction unique and a particularly strong graduate degree option for students? How does the program prepare students for advanced careers in education leadership, curriculum design, and school improvement?

[Dr. Kim] The fact that this program is not only for those in higher education, but also for people across a wide variety of backgrounds, I believe is one of its biggest strengths. We train our students to become researchers and leaders in many different education areas, from traditional research universities to health professions. In addition to this, we are a program that works closely with school districts, and we have several students who are teachers at the district level and want to become school district leaders, and we offer a lot of support in their endeavors. Research expertise and support are also strong points of this program, and the fact that we can achieve this via an online platform speaks to our faculty’s commitment to student success and growth.

Thank you, Dr. Kim, for your excellent insight into the University of Louisiana Monroe’s Online Ed.D. in Curriculum and Instruction!