Getting Started with the LDL Program

If you are a new student, welcome! We look forward to having you join our Certificate of Specialization, Graduate Certificate, EdM, EdD, or PhD program and want to help you start out in a way that sets you up to be successful. Note: students in a non-degree certificate of specialization may not have full access to some of the items referenced below.

New to taking an LDL Course, but not an LDL Student? Check out our LDL Course Participant Onboarding Series

Complete the items found on the Course Preparation page. View the Happening Now page for the upcoming onboarding dates.

Please take a moment to review the items below as soon as possible BEFORE the start of your first term. See also our Checklists page.

Welcome Resources

Welcome Resources

1 – Become familiar with this web site, even menus that you feel may not be relevant now. And check back often, as we are regularly enhancing our web site to meet your needs and address your questions. The FAQ pages change each time we receive a new question.

2 – Join the LDL Student-Alumni online community in CGScholar and actively participate by asking and/or responding to questions, sharing tips or resources, read LDL-related news, and more.

3 – Join our LDL Slack space where you can engage in real-time collaboration with peers and the LDL program advisor. Contact the LDL program advisor for the invitation link.



Our onboarding program includes a hybrid/flipped classroom model – our website, an online community with videos and links to online resources, and a live office hours session. Visit the Happening Now page for the current live session schedule.

New LDL Program Students

1 – Attend a New LDL Student Onboarding session for your certificate or degree program If you are a non-degree seeking student with the goal of transferring to a degree-seeking program, you are encouraged to attend the degree-specific onboarding session. Also, if you did not attend an Information Session prior to applying, you are encouraged to attend one of those, as not all information is repeated.

All New LDL Course Participants (new to LDL program or from another concentration new to our courses)

2 – Join the New LDL Course Participant Onboarding community on CGScholar and view the series of “admin updates“. Add a comment to ask questions.

3 – Attend the live New LDL Course Participant Onboarding session, usually held the first week of each term during the Office Hours timeslot. Visit the Happening Now page for the current live session schedule.

LDL Doctoral Students

4. Academic Writing and the Literature Review Genre: Required for LDL doctoral students, encouraged for all others.



1 – Learn about and set up your CGScholar account. This does not require a University of Illinois account. Note that courses taught by faculty outside of our concentration use different technology platforms, such as Canvas. To see a list of courses taught by LDL Faculty, click here.

1a – Attend the next CGScholar Bootcamp

2 – Claim your NetID. You will need your University Identification Number, which is provided with your admission letter.

3 – Set up Two-Factor authentication on your device using the Duo Mobile app. This app makes it very easy to access a variety of applications and web pages throughout the University of Illinois system. You must first have a Net ID in order to access the Knowledgebase and/or set up two-factor authentication. Set this up and learn more on the NetID Center page.

4 – Link your email account to Illinois’ Google apps system. We use Google apps for several things including a roster and Google chat. (Be sure to always check which Google account you are on, it may say that you don’t have access to something, but that may be because you are on your personal gmail or other Google Workspaces account.)

5 – Set up your @Illinois email address on your device(s), including your smartphone. We encourage you to regularly check your school e-mail. We discourage you from forwarding your school address to another account, because not all messages can be forwarded and sometimes other email providers mark the messages as Spam, so you may miss out on important information. Please take the time to set up your email and two-factor authentication on your devices to make it easy to check your Illinois email address often.

6 – Set up your University Library account and start exploring the Library resources! You do NOT need your own account to access subscription e-resources (i.e. journals) from Library webpages. This can be done using your NetID and Password. Visit this Library FAQ page for more login details. Check out these videos produced by your Education library, Nancy O’Brien on how to navigate the library search databases.

7. Review software (University of Illinois Webstore) and hardware (University of Illinois Tech Zone) discounts that may be available to you. Office 365 and Adobe Creative Cloud are free while you are a student.

8. Set up access to the University of Illinois’ Box files sharing app. Similar to Google apps, be sure that you are logged in to the correct account when trying to access files shared with you.

For all general technology support needs, refer to the University’s Technology Services Help Desk.

Program Requirements and Registration

LDL Concentration Requirements and Registration

1 – Review the requirements for your certificate or degree (EdM or EdD/PhD).

2 – Fill out a program plan (you must have a NetID to access this. See the Technology section above.)

Suggestion if starting in Fall: Fall A: EPOL 481 and Fall B: ERAM 550 or non-LDL elective or Research Methods elective

3 – Schedule an optional advising session with the LDL Program Advisor (Dr. Kara Francis; to discuss your tentative program plan and degree goals.

4 – Review the College of Education Graduate Student Handbook. (See also the College of Education’s web site)

5 – Review the Graduate College Student Handbook (See also the Graduate College’s web site)

6 – Register on self service (available after you receive your official acceptance from the Graduate College) See also Registration FAQ (



1 – If you are a student with a disability, please contact Disability Resources and Educational Services (DRES) to request and obtain disability-related assistance.

2 – Before classes begin, learn about course logistics for our regular LDL courses. Note that courses taught by faculty outside of our concentration follow a different approach and use a different learning management system.

Library Resources and your Research Library

Library Resources and Your Research Library

1. Check out the Library Resources page to learn more about what the library has to offer.

2. Begin considering how you will build and organize your Research Library. This is something that you will want to start early and maintain throughout your graduate education experience.