Amanda Bass

What are your top 5 design must-haves?

Discussion created by Amanda Bass on Oct 18, 2017
Latest reply on Apr 30, 2018 by Jonas Bäckelin

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:

 

  • Incorporate a branded (or at least on-brand-ish) home page for the new courses based on if they are core or specialization to give the new curriculum a unifying theme and connection to the new branding and initiatives
  • Prioritize at least one activity per course (could be flexible, based on course objectives) emphasizing social learning to make the most of our small size, on campus classes and close community
  • Require the basic learning modalities be present in all new courses 
  • Encourage (or require?) some competency based elements to allow for individualized learning
  • Assist building faculty in doing a backwards analysis of each new course in the early stages
  • Standardizing a few key course components to assist in ease of use, especially for later in life learners (we're a brand new Canvas school), thinking course navigation, a few set of set up options such as modules or a home page or both, etc

 

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. 

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