I really enjoy being an instructional designer. I have worn many hats over the years. Being an instructional designer is a great fit for my strengths because I get to be a creative problem solver. I get to contribute. I enjoy finding ways to make assessments more engaging for students. I love working with faculty to come up with ideas to break out of the usual mold of papers and exams. I like to work with faculty to create assessments that are real-world and ask students to apply what they learned in authentic assessments. What has this looked like for me and my partner faculty? Those authentic assessments include: ePortfolios, reflective journaling, training and job aids.
Sometimes, I will work with faculty who have never taught online and have a hard time seeing how face-to-face teaching can be accomplished in an online course. When I start working with a faculty member to convert a course from face-to-face to online, I ask them to tell me what they do in their classroom. I encourage them not to hold anything back because they think it might not work in the online modality. I want my faculty content experts to know that together we can convert just about anything from a face-to-face to an online course.
Recently, I worked on a course development where in-class students spend the majority of their time in class practicing counseling skills. The faculty wasn’t sure if we would be able to monitor that type of an activity in an online environment. We set up activities where students record themselves role playing and practicing the skills they learned in class. Through this approach we were able to almost mirror what students do in the face to face version of this course. I build relationships with my faculty. I like to get to know the people I work with. I want to create a trusting relationship where feedback can be given freely. I ask questions, a lot of questions, because I want to understand the outcomes to be achieved. The faculty I work with are content experts and sometimes I need them to educate me on the basic material so I can better understand it. I love the back and forth discussions that come with working in collaboration with others. I give my faculty a place to talk out their ideas and hear another perspective from me. I provide suggestions and feedback, but I never expect my faculty to implement everything I say. I know they will listen to what I have to say because of the mutual respect we have for each other.
I love the learning. I learn from my faculty and the content and students. I research instructional technology and instructional design practices. I enjoy working to keep the project on track. I am a proactive communicator. I clearly communicate expectations. I keep my faculty on task and aware of deadlines. My work style is flexible. I have learned in my career that not everyone has the same working style. Forcing someone into a style that doesn’t work for them can be counterproductive.
Most of all I love the excellence! My faculty and I motivate each other to strive for excellence. We work together to create engaging, relevant curriculum for students.