Hi all! I hope you don't mind me popping in, I have instructional design experience, but only briefly, at my previous job. I'm now working for a tiny liberal arts college and as I was researching the trend in instructional design I encountered an interesting article on the importance of instructional design, but also the role in such positions in widening the gap between high and lower budget and sized schools.
My current school has no instructional guidelines at all and no one on staff to officially create them. My position is as close as we have, so I'm looking into it. I've stumbled upon two others on staff in different (non ID related) roles who have previous experience in this area, and as we're about to launch a curriculum overhaul, it seems the perfect time to pitch adding at least a baseline few elements.
So here's my question: for a school that is likely years away from a single dedicated instructional designer (much less a full instructional design team), what are your top 5 must-haves in a course before it goes out the door? Where is the highest impact in instructional standard or design that will get us thinking about the most important things and seeing an impact sooner rather than later?
I can't launch into a full one on one ADDIE analysis with each faculty member on every one of our nearly 300 courses, nor would I get any support from the faculty or dean in doing so, but if I can pitch a few specific, high impact practices, and ask that they be included in the redesigned courses, I think I might be able to find traction.
What are your thoughts? To be clear, we currently have no requirements for course elements at all other than a basic template for the syllabus. Courses are not yet required to have any online presence.
Here are some of my initial thoughts for instructional and general design, in no particular order, after a day or two of thinking casually about this:
Basically, I just need your thoughts of things I can promote to a culture that doesn't see the importance of instructional design (and won't require a full support staff to implement) but can make small, high visibility/impact changes.
What are your top five in a class before it goes live, if you could only have five? Assume you're starting at a baseline of word documents on a professor's PC (MAYBE dumped into the Canvas files, if we're lucky) that are often printed or emailed to the students, and in-person lectures and discussions with traditional papers and tests.
Thank you Bethany, I'll review those resources. Right now I'm just building a case, without institutional support it'll continue to be piecemeal, but I'm hoping!
This is a great post and I think your starting ideas sound like good ones. I wanted to weigh in with my own thoughts, but these are not so much five things a course should have as it is five things that will help your faculty get started on the right foot:
That is a great one-word tip, and I'm hoping something that will easily resonate with faculty and administration. We *are* a google school, so I'm thinking (hoping?) the google form integration could be even easier. That's a brilliant idea, especially while doing a curriculum re-imagining. Thank you!
That's a great thought, can you tell me who created those templates? We have our communication people who cover branding, are they the ones in your district who helped with that? I didn't mean to leave out the K-12 folks, I know lots of small Canvas K-12s are in the same boat! You may not be able to share, but if you are, can you share a screenshot of one of those templated pages to give me an idea of how and what was customized?
What a great discussion topic! I would like to second what Nancy said: feedback. In addition to feedback for learners about their learning, I would add that having ways to gather feedback ABOUT THE COURSE from learners throughout the course is essential; don't just wait until the end of the semester to find out how things are going. Think of ways to get feedback from the students continuously in order to be ready to make improvements to the class when the re-design moment arrives.
After all, re-designing is the key: you design once; you re-design many times.
I just shared a blog post yesterday (written at request of another online instructor at my school) about one simple way to gather student feedback at any time during the course:
amandabass, this is going to be a very helpful discussion. Our large K-12 school district has adopted Canvas teachers and administrators at all levels will be building content to be shared with students and staff. One thing our district did was provide templates to help users get started. The templates include several of the elements you listed: district branding, outline of suggested components, resources in Commons.
You also had the good idea to suggest elements to allow instructors to make choices that make sense for their instruction. Our district is recommending that teachers include calendar items, a syllabus and one posting (discussion, quiz, link, etc.) to begin the first quarter. (It will be different for higher ed.)
When I build a course I like to have checks for understanding that are self correcting - even when I can monitor, participants get the feedback needed.
I'll look forward to seeing what others recommend here.