Information Design & Technology (Graduate) - FAQs

General Information
Is the degree only available online?
Yes, the degree is only available online. Online courses are delivered on Blackboard, the college’s learning management system. Online courses are completely asynchronous, with some opportunities for synchronous discussion with faculty and classmates. We encourage you to Demo an Online Course.

Some activities such as the thesis proposal and final defense are given synchronously using Elluminate, a virtual presentation tool.

Can the program be completed on both a full-time and part-time basis?
Yes, both options are available. Full-time students carry 9 credits or more; part-time students carry less than 9 credits. While we suggest taking three courses at a time (9 credits) for full-time study, some students choose to take four. Students are also encouraged to take a summer course to continue their progress towards degree completion; this is especially helpful for part-time students.

I would like to complete one course as a non-degree student to try out the program to make sure it’s right for me before applying for degree study. The course listing indicates permission is required to take a course if you are not already enrolled in the IDT program. How do I go about obtaining permission to register?
Non-Degree students can apply to take up to 6 credits. Submit the Non-Degree Student Application along with an unofficial transcript.

A non-degree student who takes an IDT course and attains a 3.5 GPA or higher may not need to submit the reference report forms when applying to enter the program.

Is there a downside to taking courses as a non-degree student as opposed to immediately applying and being admitted as a matriculated student?
Key advantages to immediately matriculating are:

  • You are bound to the degree requirements in place at the time of your admission, even if those requirements change in the future.
  • The core IDT courses (IDT 501, 507, 534, and 530) are reserved for matriculated students only.
  • Matriculated students register prior to non-degree students resulting in a better selection of course offerings.
  • The IDT program gets resources, such as the number of course offerings and faculty lines, based, in part on the number of students matriculated into the program.

The bottom line is that it’s best to matriculate as early as you can.

Can I work while getting my master’s degree?
Our program is made up largely of part time students; most are working while taking one or two IDT courses every semester.

I don’t see anything that indicates how long it will take to complete the program and when specific courses will be offered. What are your scheduled program course offerings and degree completion schedules?
We offer at least one of the three core classes every fall and spring, and they are offered in a rotation so you can predict when they will be offered again. The recommended IDT research methods course is offered once a year (usually in the fall). We also offer at least two IDT electives each semester. If you can handle two courses each semester and two in the summer, you can graduate in two years as the program totals 33 credits (Eleven 3-credit hour courses). If you are too busy to take two courses per semester, then it will probably take 2 1/2 to 3 years to complete the program. Students can move at a pace that works best for them based on their job and other obligations.

I don’t see any prerequisites listed for any of the courses nor did I see a specific course sequence for completion. Am I correct in assuming that the program doesn’t require a specific course sequencing and that all courses do not require prerequisites?
Yes – course sequencing is not an issue with this program, and there are no prerequisites for any of the IDT courses. We do however recommend that students take the core classes (IDT501, IDT507, and IDT534) as early as possible as they are not offered every semester.

Can I take courses on campus if I wish?
No – the program is completely online; on campus courses are not available. There are opportunities to visit campus and professors post office hours if you would like to meet with them in person.

Do IDT courses include hands-on projects?
While the focus is on understanding how to analyze and evaluate new information design technologies, many of the courses include a hands-on project using various state-of-the-art technologies. Although we do teach some basic skills in a variety of design applications, the program isn’t focused on teaching software. You will get a taste of many design-related programs, and we generally provide forums where students can ask questions about the software. For instance, in a recent class on Instructional Design every student created a video podcast, and in a class on Information Technology every student created a Tidliwiki (a Firefox plug-in).

Does the program have a Facebook page?
Yes, it’s unofficial and run by the IDT students: SUNY Poly IDT Program

How can I find out what’s being offered any particular semester?
Prospective students can visit our online Course Schedule.
Click on “Master Course Schedule”. Select your term of interest from the pull-down menu. Select “Information Design& Technology” from the pull-down menu.

IDT course descriptions can also be found in our online Graduate Catalog.

Career Fields
What fields have your students gone into?

Many of our graduates are working as:

  • K-12 technology specialists
  • K-12 teachers in Art, Math, and Science
  • Community college faculty members in web design and design
  • University level adjunct faculty members
  • Instructional media experts in education and at the corporate level
  • Educational technology staff
  • Web development staff
  • Graphic designers
  • Library directors
  • Health services information officers
  • Database administrators
  • Learning management and training officers
  • Admissions counselors
  • Systems integration analysts

Would this master’s Program enable me to teach at a collegiate level? I’ve always had a goal to one day instruct at a college.
We have graduates teaching at community colleges such as Herkimer County Community College and Mohawk Valley Community College. If you want to secure a tenure track faculty line at a four-year college or university, you generally need to complete the IDT degree and then go on to a PhD program or for an MFA. We have had students go that route.

My ultimate goal is to apply for NYS certification as an Educational Technology Specialist at a NYS high school. Can the IDT program be used to meet the NYSED requirements for the certification? I already have provisional certification in the field.
We have had several students with provisional certification use the IDT degree to obtain permanent teaching certification. Depending on the subject area, it may be possible to use the degree to fulfill these requirements but we do not guarantee that in advance. It’s best to first check with NYSED on whether or not the IDT program would get you this certification based on your educational background. The guidelines do change from time to time so please check with NYSED.

Applying for Admission
For detailed information contact Maryrose Raab, Director of Graduate Admissions at or 315-282-5677 (text or call)

What undergraduate GPA is required for admission consideration, and what if I’m just below that GPA?
Generally, a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher is required for admission consideration. Lower GPAs will be considered if the student has related experience, strong samples of academic or professional work, or does well as a non-degree student.

Regarding references: Can I use personal references, past faculty references or job references? Which is preferred?
Academic and professional references are preferred and strongly recommended.  To simplify the process we encourage you to ask your reference writers to use our campus-based Reference Report Form.

Can I transfer in courses from another graduate program?
You can transfer in up to six credits of equivalent graduate level coursework. Previous coursework cannot be more than seven years old to be considered, and only courses with a grade of B or higher can transfer.  If approved, the credit typically applies towards the unrestricted elective requirement.

Transfer credit is evaluated at the time an application is being reviewed for admission. It will be entered into Banner at the start of your first semester after your enrollment is confirmed.

Can I get credit for professional experience or can I use on-the-job experience in an internship?
We do not award credit for life experience. Many of the students in the IDT program are professionals in various fields and their experience on the job plays a key role in responding to many of the discussions held during online activities and in completing the projects and papers. You might also decide to work on projects in classes that relate to your job and to complete your thesis based on new information technologies, which you may use at your job. Thus, there will be many opportunities to utilize your life experiences in the classes themselves. However, we do not give direct credit for that experience.

Accreditation, Quality of Faculty, Financial Aid
Are you an accredited program?
SUNY Poly is regionally accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools.

Are SUNY online degrees real degrees?
When you register and complete the IDT online degree program at SUNY Poly, your online degree is a real, accredited degree. The credits you earn while studying online are from SUNY Poly and your degree will come from SUNY Poly, which is a part of the State University of New York. Your diploma and transcript do not reflect that this was an online program.

What are the qualifications of your faculty?
The department is made up of five full-time faculty members:

  • Russell L. Kahn, Associate Professor; Ph.D. University at Albany. Specializes in social, political, business and educational implications of the web, web design, and computer software documentation.
  • Steven Schneider, Professor; Ph.D.Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Specializes in computer-mediated communication and computer-mediated instructional systems, social impact of technologies, web archiving and analysis, political science.
  • Kathryn Stam, Associate Professor; Ph.D. Syracuse University. Specializes in online learning, cross-cultural communication, computer-supported technology, anthropology of work, Thai studies.
  • Ibrahim Yucel, Assistant Professor; Ph.D. Pennsylvania State University. Specializes in video game design and development, online communities and culture, human computer interaction, serious games, AI and intelligent agents.
  • Ryan Lizardi, Assistant Professor; Ph.D.  Pennsylvania State University.  Specializes in mass communications and media studies.  Interest in new media, social media, mediated memory and history, video design, and the social and cultural impacts of information technology.

In addition, we often have experts in various fields (with terminal degrees) teach classes on a part-time basis.

What is the cost of the degree?
Current rates for tuition and fees can be found online.

Do you provide financial aid?
For information on financial aid, please view our Financial Aid webpages.

Assistantship and Diversity Fellowship opportunities are available to full-time graduate students. Please submit the Assistantship Application or Diversity Fellowship Application along with your online Application for Graduate Admission.

Do IDT students attend graduation on campus?
Students are strongly encouraged to attend Commencement in May. In addition, we have a university-wide hooding ceremony the morning before Commencement.

Please don’t hesitate to contact us with any additional questions:

Dr. Kathryn Stam, Ph.D.
Professor, Department of Communication & Humanities
Email for the fastest response:
Leave a message at 315-792-7241

Dr. Steve Schneider, Ph.D.
Professor, Department of Communication & Humanities
Email for the fastest response:
Leave a message at 315-792-7331

Maryrose Raab, MS IDT ’05
Director of Graduate Admissions
Email for the fastest response:
Text or call: 315-282-5677

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