Instructional Design and the Temp(lates) of Do(om): The Development, Creation, and Maintenance of Department Specific Templates at a Research University

Concurrent Session 8
Streamed Session

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Brief Abstract

The use of templates is a highly contested topic in Higher Education. This presentation will provide insight into how Mississippi State University has tackled, and conquered, the pitfalls of the template by providing highly individualized templates that meet the needs of various departments.

Extended Abstract

The use of templates for online courses in higher education is both highly regarded and disdained in equal measure. While there are some who enjoy the east navigability and clean structure of a template, there are some who think that the template is a direct challenge to notions of academic freedom and expression. With a large constituency of online programs, Mississippi State University has tackled, and conquered, the pitfalls of the template by providing highly individualized templates that meet the needs of various departments. In this presentation, I will provide insight into how Mississippi State develops, creates, deploys, and maintains a wide range of templates that suit the needs of the courses, the faculty, and the students who use them.

During this presentation, I will present the process of how a template is made, from conception to completion. The content of this presentation will provide a look into the questions and processes used to develop the initial idea for the template, explain the timeline and actions needed to complete a working draft of the template, an explanation of the departmental review process, and then an explanation of how the template is deployed to the department and maintained. While the process is a central focus, I will also share what we have learned along the way, such as: what questions not to ask, how to engage (or disengage) faculty, lessons in creating, and what not to do. As a means of engaging the audience, I plan to have them use questionnaires to see, first-hand, how the development process works, and then have them interact with various examples through Q & A. During the session, participants will be provided with hand-outs and be given virtual “tours” of completed templates, as well as presentation slides. At the end of the session, participants will be able to use some or all of the methodology described to help their faculty create effective templates.