In December 2015, he was in Liverpool to graduate in person from the University of Liverpool’s online Doctor of Education – Higher Education.
“The online EdD programme has transformed me. Based on my thesis topic, I am now interested in pursuing a higher education career that focuses directly on international and global education.“
What attracted you to studying online with the University of Liverpool for this Doctorate?
Both the flexibility of being able to study during times of the day or night that suited my schedule, and the opportunity to learn from professionals located all over the world.
Why did you choose to study for a professional doctorate instead of a PhD?
I have been a full-time higher education professional for 15 years. As a practitioner, I sought to make sense of my professional environment by looking at it as an object of research. This is why the EdD was ideal for me. If I had planned to go into a tenure track teaching position, I would have pursued a PhD in Education.
How did you fit your studies into your day-to-day life?
I studied in all kinds of different places, from the spare room of my sister's house, to 35,000 feet in the air, and even on tropical islands where I was vacationing. The key was making it a priority no matter where I was or what I was doing. It was relatively easy to fit it into my life, but it took a constant commitment.
What did you enjoy most about studying online with the University of Liverpool?
I enjoyed the discussions that took place and the different perspectives that I got from my classmates. I found that I was receiving an education in diversity of culture, professional background, and experience as much as I was receiving an education in the stated topic areas for class. It gave me a much broader perspective than if I had studied for this degree in person in the United States.
What was your experience of interacting with other international professionals?
This was the key to the programme for me. On the doctoral level, we were doing a lot of learning through constructive conversation, and having professionals from so many different countries (Hong Kong, Zambia, Uganda, Saudi Arabia, UAE, South Africa and others) augmented the conversation to a level that was very fulfilling.
Did you choose the EdD residency option?
Yes. I attended the first EdD residency in July 2014, and I found it to be excellent. It was an opportunity to present my work in front of my peers and selected faculty. Most importantly, it was a chance to meet all of the great people I had been studying with online and meet some new colleagues as well.
What did you research for your doctoral degree?
I used a combination of phenomenography and reflective judgment to look at student learning experiences in short-term study abroad trips at NYU Abu Dhabi. Jason’s online doctoral thesis is available at the University of Liverpool Repository.
How was your experience of the ‘viva voce’ oral examination? Did it take place via Skype?
I had a very positive viva. I opted to attend it at the University of Liverpool campus in October 2015. My examiners, Dr Ian Willis and Professor Sue Robson, were extremely gracious in their feedback and they challenged me to think about my work in different ways.
How relevant is the online EdD to your career? Is it helping you move ahead?
The online EdD programme has transformed me. Based on my thesis topic, I am now interested in pursuing a higher education career that focuses directly on international and global education. During the programme, I was often able to take what I learned in class and directly apply it at work. This allowed me to integrate my learning into my professional life, and it has felt more like a natural extension of my work as opposed to an extra time burden.
What three words sum up your experience with the University of Liverpool?
Perseverance, momentum, commitment.
I would recommend the University of Liverpool because...
...you get the benefits of online learning (flexibility, student diversity, excellent research tools) while getting a University of Liverpool education. It's a win-win situation! And I have also very much enjoyed the connections I have made with both fellow students and faculty.