Using Multimedia Carrots to Attract Faculty to a Strategic Initiative
Concurrent Session 9
Higher education faculty burdened by multiple responsibilities rarely feel they have time for a strategic initiative (SI). This presentation highlights how multimedia assets were used to attract and retain faculty during this SI for quality online course development. We’ll share lessons learned from this partnership between faculty, instructional designers, and multimedia producers.
Recent world events have made the move to online instruction an imperative. Yet, there is a continuing challenge for higher education offices charged with promoting the effective use of instructional technologies: the challenge of engaging and retaining faculty in strategic initiative programs.
In light of this challenge, our university’s technology office began offering an intensive, multi-semester, online course strategic initiative program for faculty in October of 2019. University faculty applied for and were accepted into the cohort for the program, which was designed to walk them through online course design and development for one of their own courses.
As program multimedia coordinators for the course’s visual design, eLearning interactions, and videos, we collaborated closely in a partnership with faculty, instructional designers, and multimedia designers and developers. Our task was to coordinate and manage the design and production of the following multimedia assets for each faculty course:
- A course banner and dashboard card for use in the Canvas Learning Management System (LMS), plus 15 additional hours of image support,
- two five-minute (or less) course videos (a course introduction video and a second video of the instructor’s choice), and
- two interactive eLearning activities covering course content.
During this process, we developed extensive guidelines and processes for managing production, replicating successes, and minimizing project disruption, refined through iterations of the program cycle for three faculty cohorts. The program continues and is very popular with faculty. We truly believe that our comradery, willingness to adapt, and commitment to cross-team collaboration are the foundation of our positive results, and we look forward to sharing the practical solutions we implemented with presentation attendees.
Presentation Takeaways and Interactivity
During our presentation, we will highlight tips and resources that we used in the program, and will recount our experiences and the lessons learned in the process of producing multimedia assets for faculty enrolled in our online course design program. Participants will gain access to materials that they can use in implementing their own multimedia course assets development programs. We plan to engage our presentation audience with question and answer polls and a brief whole-group exercise involving the analysis of our standard MOU document.
Commitment to Accessibility, Copyright, and Use of OER
In each of our respective areas of responsibility, we applied accessibility measures to the creation of the course multimedia materials noted previously. In addition, since copyright is always a concern for course materials, and as more and more university courses are offered through outward-facing platforms, our goal has been to help faculty better understand the stipulations of Fair Use, copyright, and the use of Open Educational Resources (OER). Bailey and Poo (2018) found that faculty members’ understandings of OER, copyright, and Creative Commons licensing varies widely. Yet, the use and availability of OER are increasing. Jung, Bauer and Heaps (2017) cite empirical research findings to support the efficacy of OER, as well as their perceived value, and cost reduction benefits in higher education. They stress, however, that “successful OER implementation requires a substantial amount of financial and human resources, along with purposeful planning and facilitation; otherwise, innovations are not likely to be sustained” (p. 78). For this program, we sought to promote this understanding. Creating assets for faculty courses was a first step, and we also emphasized future actions that involved either creating their own course materials (“teach them to fish”), or locating and using or modifying OER.
Multimedia Consults and Processes: An Exercise in Design Thinking
As part of the effort to ensure that the multimedia assets met faculty and student needs, the multimedia coordinators used a design thinking process (empathize, define problem, and iteratively ideate, prototype, and test). To empathize with faculty challenges and help define the problem to be addressed by the assets, the coordinators began the process by holding multimedia consultations with faculty and their assigned instructional designers. During these early consultations, the team and faculty client identified the challenges faced by faculty and their students, highlighting course concepts that students typically find challenging to master, or for which students often send emails or request meetings with the faculty member. This process of ideation helped define the specifics of the deliverables to be produced for the course, resulting in a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that was then approved by the faculty member. It further helped establish a plan for the asset development. From that point, the assigned multimedia designers iteratively created a series of asset prototypes for faculty approval and testing, which ultimately led to deliverables that better met the identified needs of faculty and students.
Maintaining Faculty Engagement During Multi-Month Projects
During the course of the program, we developed several processes and guidelines for helping all parties stay engaged and complete their work on time. We knew program faculty were coming to the table with a wide range of motivations and energy levels – while most expressed interest in reaching a broader audience of students or demonstrating best practices in online teaching, some were simply directed by their departments to move courses online, or to quickly generate a course that could be taught by any instructor in the department. Additionally, some faculty received a course release or a stipend from their departments, while others received neither, creating noticeable differences in faculty engagement and available hours they could dedicate to the program. In this presentation, we will cover how we addressed the individual needs of each faculty member while preventing scope creep, holding faculty to a proscribed development schedule, addressing missed deadlines, mitigating faculty dropout, and meeting our own deadlines.
Adapting the Process
As with any design and development project, adjustments and adaptations are a natural part of the process. For example, in the midst of standardizing our production and project management operations, we quickly had to make adjustments in the face of the COVID-19 crisis. Additionally, multimedia consultations for the first cohort of faculty occurred over a four week period, initiating a staggered series of 10-week development cycles for each faculty project. However, that timeline proved to be too dense and for future cohorts the consultations (and subsequent development schedules) were spaced across a seven week timeline. We will share details about these and other changes we made to our production process and project management procedures to address these challenges.
Bailey, C., & Poo, A. (2018). TEAMing up with faculty: A new tactic in the textbook battle. Against the Grain, 30(5), 22, 24.
Jung, E., Bauer, C., & Heaps, A. (2017). Strategic implementation of open educational resources in higher education institutions. Educational Technology, 57(2), 78-84. https://www.jstor.org/stable/44430530
Klein, J. D., & Kelly, W. Q. (2018). Competencies for Instructional Designers: A View from Employers. Performance Improvement Quarterly, 31(3), 225-247. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/pdf/10.1002/piq.21257 .
Larson, M. B., & Lockee, B. B. (2014). Streamlined ID: A practical guide to instructional design. Routledge.
Yelon, S. L. (2018). Applying transfer dynamics to training: A personal review. Performance Improvement, 57(5), 20-30. Doi: 10.1002/pfi.21776