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Course Descriptions

OPWL 506 Survey Design and Data Analysis

1-credit | 1st 5-weeks | fall and spring | research and elective
Survey questionnaires are often used to assist data-driven decisions during needs assessments, evaluations, and other learning and performance improvement interventions. Using a theory-to-practice approach and based on research-based evidence and expert knowledge, this course teaches how to design survey instruments with closed-ended questions and how to analyze quantitative data.


OPWL 507 Interviews and Data Analysis

1-credit | 2nd 5-weeks | spring and summer | research and elective
Interviews provide important data to professionals during needs assessment, evaluation, learning design, and change management. This course provides practical skills and tools necessary for planning and conducting individual and group interviews. It will also introduce evidence-based approaches to data analysis to facilitate data-driven decisions.


OPWL 508 Data Visualization

1-credit | 3rd 5-weeks | summer and fall | research and elective
Visual representation of data is increasingly important for data-driven decision making. Data visualization techniques allow professionals to represent information and derive meaning of the data. Students will learn the value of visualization, specific techniques in information and scientific visualization, and ways to leverage visualization methods.


OPWL 516 Foundations of Professional Development

1-credit | 1st 10-weeks | fall and spring | elective
Provides a one-on-one career coaching experience for emerging and second career professionals pursuing job opportunities in the OPWL workplace. Includes job targeting, course planning, opportunity pursuit, and refection. Explores ways to continue working on professional development outside the classroom.
To be eligible to enroll requires completion of this application.


OPWL 518 Contracting and Consulting

2-credit | 7-weeks
Students learn what’s required for a successful contracting or consulting practice and explore steps they would need to take to be successful. Students study selected business requirements for self-employment, consultant-specific work products, and consulting scenarios. Assignments include creating a sample proposal and defining a contracting/consulting business. (Prereq: None)

This online course uses a blended approach, requiring students to participate in three (3) 1.5 hour synchronous meetings (TBD) as well as participating in asynchronous learning during the course.


OPWL 523 E-Learning Authoring and Development

3-credit | 1st 10-weeks | fall and summer | elective | OWL 523 Required course materials
Through hands-on practice, students demonstrate emerging foundational knowledge and skills required to use e-learning authoring tools and develop efficient, effective, and engaging, performance-based e-learning objects to support workplace learning. Students exit the course with a technical simulation, conceptual instruction and a quiz, and a linear scenario-based e-learning portfolio example.

Please view this video and complete this system requirements checklist to confirm you can take OPWL 523.

OPWL 525 E-Learning Content Design and Learning Management Systems

3-credit | 2nd 10-weeks | spring and summer | elective | OPWL 525 Required course materials
Students will learn foundational principles for implementing e-learning solutions and learning management/content management systems. Students will evaluate e-learning demo programs and study the use of reusable learning objects, sharable content objects, metadata and e-learning standards in the current e-learning practice. Students will develop sample multimedia learning objects and implement them on a learning management system. COREQ: OPWL 536.


OPWL 529 Needs Assessment

4-credit | 15-weeks | fall and spring | required | OWL 529 Required course materials
Through analysis of case studies, guided practice, field work, and other methods, students learn to use tools, data and systematic methods to identify and assess current or future problems and their causes, and help decision makers target critical problems with feasible solutions. Students will conduct an authentic project. PREREQ: OPWL 536.


OPWL 530 Evaluation

4-credit | 15-weeks | fall and spring | required | OPWL 530 Required course materials
Students learn how to conduct formative and summative evaluations of instructional or performance improvement programs implemented in organizations. Students explore principles, models, and frameworks for evaluation, and conduct a full-scale evaluation, working with real clients and stakeholders. PREREQ: OPWL 536.


OPWL 531 Quantitative Research in Organizations

3-credit | 10 weeks | fall and summer | research | OPWL 531 Required course materials
Students learn how to design research and apply statistical analysis methods to conduct quantitative studies in organizational contexts. Students also review various empirical research reports in order to become educated consumers of research and contribute to improving organizational performance. PREREQ: OPWL 536 or PERM/INST.


OPWL 535 Principles of Adult Learning

4-credit | 15-weeks | fall and spring | required | OPWL 535 Required course materials
Students explore how contemporary adult learning theories and practices are applied to the field of workplace learning and performance improvement, particularly with respect to the instructional design process. They will investigate methods, strategies and technologies that are known to affect adult learners’ learning outcomes. Students will apply adult learning principles to organizational situations in industry, government, military, and non-profit settings.


OPWL 536 Foundations of Organizational Performance and Workplace Learning

4-credit | 15-weeks | fall,spring, and summer | required | OPWL 536 Required course materials
Students study guiding principles of human performance improvement and apply relevant theories and models, from classic to contemporary, to real or realistic organizational situations in industry, government, military, and non-profit settings.


OPWL 537 Instructional Design

4-credit | 15-weeks | fall and spring | required | OPWL 537 Required course materials
This course follows a systematic and systemic instructional design process and employs methods and strategies involved in designing elective instructional interventions for the workplace. Working with a real client, students complete a performance oriented instructional design project in phases over the duration of the course. PREREQ: OPWL 535 and OPWL 536.


OPWL 547 Learning Experience Design

​3-credit | ​1st 10 weeks | summers | elective | OPWL 547 Required course materials
Students engage in authentic instructional design activities with real clients as part of a community of practice. Activities include analyzing instructional design problems, creating instructional design products, working within diverse teams, and giving and receiving constructive feedback. PREREQ: OPWL 535 and OPWL 536.


OPWL 550 Blended Learning for Performance Improvement

3-credit | 1st 10-weeks | fall and summer | elective | OPWL 550 Required course materials
Students investigate various learning technologies that can contribute to the building and sharing of individual and organizational knowledge. Based on analysis of learner’s performance needs, students design blended approaches to improving workplace learning and performance by combining face-to-face learning and e-learning. COREQ: OPWL 536.


OPWL 551 Storyboarding and Scenario-Based E-Learning

3-credit | 2nd 10-weeks | spring and summer | elective | OPWL 551 Required course materials
Students create a high-level design document and storyboard for a branching scenario-based e-learning object. Students also learn how to select a design approach best suited for learners who would access the e-learning via mobile devices, desktops, laptops, or any combination of those devices. COREQ: OPWL 536.


OPWL 560 Workplace Performance Improvement

4-credit | 15-weeks | fall and spring | required | OPWL 560 Required course materials
Students examine the process models, non-instructional solutions, professional practice issues, and future trends of performance improvement which aim to improve performance in the workplace. In a hands-on project, students practice applying the performance improvement process to design effective performance solutions. PREREQ: OPWL 536, and OPWL 529 or OPWL 530.


OPWL 570 Organizational Culture and Leadership

2-credit | 1st 7-week | summer | elective
Students will be exposed to the characteristics that constitute culture in organizations. In addition, students will learn how to define, identify, and purposefully influence culture to support organizational mission, values and goals. This is done through an examination of current theories and concepts and applying them to real-world examples of organizational cultures identified by the students and their own experiences.


OPWL 572 Project Management Fundamentals

Students explore project management definitions, planning, managing, and reviewing parts of projects, as well as, examining practical knowledge of the pieces of a project plan including project scope, work breakdown structure, schedules, and resources. (Prereq: None)


OPWL 577 Change Management

3-credit | 1st 10-weeks | spring and odd year summers | elective | OPWL 577 Required course materials
Students will learn basic principles related to the top-down and bottom-up change processes, and analytical and planning tools that can be used to facilitate change within an organization. Students will practice applying those principles and tools in real organizational situations.


OPWL 578 Performance Impact Beyond the Organization

3-credit | 1st 10-weeks | even year summers | elective | OPWL 578 Required course materials
Students will learn basic principles related to helping organizations plan, implement, and evaluate business practices that are environmentally, socially, and financially balanced. The course combines principles of design, systems thinking, change management, and evaluation. COREQ: OPWL 536.


OPWL 585 Selected Topics: Thinking in Systems

1-credit | 1st 5-weeks | fall and rotated summers | elective | OPWL 585 Required course materials
This course is about uncovering and starting to understand the complex entities and interrelationships that shape our daily lives.


OPWL 590 Practicum / Internship (Variable Credit)

Note: This course is used by OPWL students as an internship experience. A prospectus requiring faculty sponsor, employer, and student agreement must be submitted before registering for the course; a brief report endorsed by the employer is required at the end of the semester; the student’s final grade is determined by the faculty sponsor. OPWL students may count no more than a total of 3 semester hours of OPWL 590 to their program.


OPWL 592 Portfolio (Variable Credit)

Minimum of 1-credit | fall, spring, and summers
A broad-based selection of significant student work that is used to appraise student performance and professional development. A portfolio reflects the depth and breadth of a student’s educational growth since entering the graduate program. Pass/fail only.


OPWL 593 Thesis (Variable Credit)

Minimum of 6-credits
Independent research or creative activity at the master’s level resulting in a thesis that must be defended at a final oral examination and archived in the university library. The thesis must be written in clear and effective English and presented in a format that conforms to the standards of the Graduate College. Graded pass/fail (P/F) only.


OPWL 595 Readings and Conference (Variable Credit)

The conduct of topical research, assigned readings or literature review. The faculty advisor and the student prepare and sign an agreement describing the amount and type of work to be accomplished.

Note: With the aid of a faculty sponsor, the student selects a cohesive set of readings and then discusses them with the faculty member on an agreed-upon schedule throughout the semester. The planned reading list may be changed (with faculty approval) to respond to emphases and interests stimulated by initial reading. Students are expected to do at least 50 hours of reading, thinking, and conferring for each credit hour earned.


OPWL 596 Independent Study (Variable Credit)

Advanced study of a specialized topic; design and completion of a project may be included in the study. The student works with a high degree of independence to meet well-defined goals under the supervision of a member of the graduate faculty. Requires submission of a completed Application for Independent Study prior to the deadline specified in the academic calendar.

OPWL 597 Special Topics: Game-Based and Gamified Learning

Students will learn how to design engaging and interactive learning interventions using game-based learning (GBL) theories, as well as how to gamify the learning process by including game mechanics, game-design elements, and game principles to engage and motivate the learner to accomplish the desired learning outcomes.

OPWL 597 Special Topics: Planning for Workplace Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Accessibility Interventions

Organizations are increasingly responding to the need for initiatives that address workplace inclusion, diversity, equity, and accessibility (IDEA). This course provides training and development and performance improvement professionals with real-world examples, strategies, and resources needed for planning and implementing IDEA initiatives. (Prereq: NONE)


OPWL 696 Directed Research (Variable Credit)

Research conducted by a graduate student under the supervision of a member of the graduate faculty. Requires the clear statement of a hypothesis or proposition, a review of the relevant literature, analysis and synthesis of data or scholarly evidence, and the inference of conclusions. The results must be stated in a report written in clear and effective English. Requires submission of an Application for Directed Research prior to the deadline specified in the academic calendar.