Managing a Program-Level Redesign Project
Concurrent Session 2
Purdue University’s Krannert School of Management has seen a significant increase in enrollment after hybridizing their Weekend MBA Program. The Program was redesigned by instructional designers using a case-based, peer-to-peer collaboration strategy. Strategic project management was a key piece to the success of the initiative.
After this session, attendees will be able to:
Identify obstacles and conceptualize solutions involved with managing a program-level redesign project
More specifically, attendees will be able to:
Identify program-level commonalities in regard to course design
Gain faculty buy-in for the implementation of new instructional strategies
Explore Trello for tracking large-scale projects
Recognize ways in which content can be made accessible to all learners
Identify strategies for continuous improvement
Purdue University’s Krannert School of Management was initially offered as a fully residential weekend MBA program until it was realized that offering a program partially online would expand student access, improve retention, and reduce challenges for students driving long distances to the West Lafayette, Indiana campus every Saturday to attend classes. Now, the program is offered in a hybrid format where students are only required to come to campus every other Saturday while completing the rest of the instruction through the University’s centrally supported learning management system. Since the change to the new model, enrollment has nearly doubled. The success of this project has led to the development of a fully online undergraduate summer business academy as well.
The School of Management called upon the centralized instructional design team to redesign the 22-course program. A project of this scope required a project manager, and Erica Vail was tasked with managing this initiative. She worked in tandem with Mel Edwards and other instructional designers to restructure the program.
By the end of this session, attendees will be able to identify obstacles and conceptualize solutions involved with managing a program-level redesign project. Obstacles include determining what to “templify” or standardize across courses, gaining faculty buy-in, predicting workload and allocating people resources appropriately, determining instructional design strategies, devising an efficient workflow, tracking the progress of each course, evaluating the courses, and creating a support model for continuous improvement.
One strategy that was effective was holding kick-off meetings with faculty prior to working with them. This served as an opportunity for expectation setting and, since we met with more than one faculty member at once, it allowed them to ask their peers questions and to help ease their mind about the project on which they were about to embark. During the kick-off meetings, each faculty member was given handouts detailing the instructional design process, listing common course elements, and describing the criteria against which they course would be evaluated. The common course element document was kept short so as to not stifle creativity. The evaluation rubric was created based on Quality Matters but is a simplified version that contains faculty-friendly language. Details about how these documents were developed will be covered in this conference session.
Periodic check-in meetings were scheduled as opportunities for collaboration and for discussion on the case-based pedagogy that was used across most courses. In addition, Trello was used to track projects. Trello is web-based project management software. In this session, the use of Trello will be demonstrated for tracking course design projects. Trello consists of boards (like bulletin boards) and cards (which are posted onto boards). In order to track course progress for this project, boards were created for each step of the design process and named appropriately (e.g. “kick-off meeting”, “analysis phase”, “design phase”, etc.). Each course was given a card. Notes can be kept on cards as well as checklists. Cards are moved to boards as milestones are met. This was a great way to keep documentation and to keep projects on target.
A workflow for video creation and closed captioning was also developed. Videos were managed in Kaltura and edited in Camtasia. Cielo24 was used for video captioning. Videos were placed into the learning management system using the Kaltura Mashup feature. In addition to closed captions, other accessibility measures were taken such as placing alternate tags on all images within PowerPoints or within the course itself. The session will demonstrate how the content was made accessible.
The project also required a maintenance plan. A general email address was set up for faculty to contact after their course has launched. A reviewer uses the rubric to evaluate the course, and the instructional designer meets with the faculty member to discuss it. It has been found that asking the faculty to change one or two things as a way to improve is more than enough. This is a better strategy than expecting them to incorporate all of the feedback at once. The instructional designer continues to help the faculty iterate each semester the course is taught, but the general email address is meant to help maintain the technical aspects of the course such as updating assignment due dates, etc.
About ten courses have already run in the new format, and the student evaluations have been largely positive. There were many details that were ironed out as this project unfolded, and this session will discuss those. In particular, it will help the audience think about pedagogies for a working adult audience and to identify Trello as a free tool for managing large-scale projects such as this one. Emphasis will be placed on making content accessible, course evaluations, and continuous improvement practices for program-level instructional design projects.