Instructional Design for Instructional Designers

Concurrent Session 5
Streamed Session

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Brief Abstract

The role of the instructional designer has always been fluid, changing more so over the past few months. Yet it remains, first and foremost, relational. Designing while pivoting modalities is less about teaching new skills and methods and more about serving and empowering faculty in encouraging and even humorous segments.


Cheryl Fulghum oversees the department of Instructional Design and Online Learning at Haywood Community College in western North Carolina. In this role, she is responsible for instructional design through faculty development, online course design, emerging technologies research, accessibility compliance, and the administrations of several learning platforms. She describes her main role as faculty cheerleader, empowering faculty to become 21st century teachers despite self-identified low-tech skills and fear of the unknown. Prior to her work in the online learning field, she served as full-time faculty in the commercial arts and worked as project manager and media content creator for Shadowbox Design, an educational technology company specializing in online ancillaries for higher education textbook publishers. She has degrees in Broadcast Communications, Journalism, and Educational Media: Curriculum and Instruction.

Extended Abstract

Amid spring semester's chatter on e-learning listervs, higher education social media, and academic blogs about how to move instruction quickly online, was a hint of leveraging the opportunity to “school” faculty on how online teaching and learning works. Voices clanged make-the-crisis-count! and seize the stay!. And you can bet someone somewhere created a trite Forrest Gump meme that stated: And just like that … instructional design became a legit field. Almost overnight, IDs calendar invitations blew up, voicemail filled, and the role of the ID was elevated and became highly valued. So, why not appropriate this unfortunate situation for the benefit of would-be elearners everywhere?

Here’s why. Emergency remote instruction is not the same as online course design. We cannot hurriedly equip faculty to teach in a new way - nor should we try. Those in the instructional design field recognized early in the on-ground to online pivot that there wasn’t time to teach new skills and methods – but there was time to serve faculty as they attempted to save the semester. The shift to online teaching during a global health crisis became more about service and salvage than an opportunity to leverage, sway and influence. And, in the process, instructional designers were reminded of what faculty truly need: to be rallied, cheered, and encouraged in what they do. The pivot is not over. We are, and will continue to, adopt emerging instructional modalities as the call to diversification necessitates. How we guide and empower faculty through these changes will make all the difference in the quality of instruction our institutions offer and the academic success our students experience.

This session will explore what we know about instructional design, what we know about what faculty need, and how to be sure we do not lose sight of it in the future.