Should It Stay or Should It Go: Revisiting and Re-Envisioning Instruction Developed During the Pandemic

Concurrent Session 5
Streamed Session

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Brief Abstract

During the Pandemic, many activities pivoted online. Now that we can return to face-to-face, what should we keep doing virtually?  This session will share decision making matrices and qualitative considerations when planning and communicating about what should stay, what should go, and what should be revised in the new normal.


Dr. Linda Macaulay is an instructional designer with HJF in support of the Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences (Bethesda, MD). She has over 15 years of experience teaching in online, blended, and traditional higher education programs. Before coming to the university, she was an Assistant Director of Instructional Technology, she taught graduate and undergraduate educational technology courses and was also an elementary teacher for eleven years. Her background in leadership for change, technology, and learning theory provides a broad base of knowledge to support faculty as they work to enhance their face-to-face, blended, and online courses with innovative teaching strategies and technology. She states that she is a "teacher first, techie second" because it is good teaching and course design that makes all the difference for student success. She lives in Landisville, PA with her son and pets and enjoys listening to Kenny Roger's music and spending time with her family to unplug and recharge. Look for her around the OLC Conference buzzing about in her red mobility scooter!
Dr. Kurzweil is the Director of the ETI and has worked at USU since 2006. In this capacity, she provides strategic direction for the ETI, instructional and educational technology support for faculty, supervision of ETI personnel, and management of the ETI office. Prior to that, she worked at the National Defense University providing direction and vision of the instructional team supporting the Center for Educational Technology. She also is a faculty member in the Health Professions Education program at USU. She has served on numerous committees and task forces examining a wide range of topics including educational technologies, inter-professional education, professional development for K12 and higher education faculty, learning management systems, program assessment and evaluation, instructional design, and teaching/faculty support paradigms. Dr. Kurzweil has presented at international, national, and regional conferences, including American Educational Research Association (AERA), multiple conferences offered by the Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education, The Interservice/Industry Training, Simulation & Education Conference (I/ITSEC), the Open Apereo (Sakai) Conference and AAMC.
Dr. Marcellas has more than fifteen years of experience in designing instruction for classroom-based, DL and blended learning environments. Her main role at the ETI is ensuring that the team understands faculty members’ needs, and that the team designs and develops products that meet those needs. Her work at the ETI has included front-end analysis, content design, course evaluation, and conducting research on instructional interventions. She has led professional development sessions at USU on topics including the development of effective learning objectives, the use of Bloom’s Taxonomy to guide assessment, and techniques for creating an effective learning environment. Dr. Marcellas has been involved with many instructional and educational technology initiatives at National Defense University (NDU) as well as USUHS. Dr. Marcellas is the co-author of "Instructional Designers and Learning Engineers", a chapter in the book "Modernizing Learning: Building the Future Learning Ecosystem." She has made presentations at numerous national and international conferences, including the American Educational Research Association Annual Meeting, the Association of American Medical Colleges Annual Meeting, the Online Learning Consortium Accelerate Conference, the Interservice/Industry Training, Simulation, and Education Conference, the Open Apereo (Sakai) Conference, Educause, the IC Industry Consortium on Learning Engineering Conference (ICICLE), and the Association for Advancement of Computing in Education's E-Learn and EdMedia Conferences.

Extended Abstract

Session Outcomes/Key Takeaways:

By the end of this education session, participants will be able to:

  • Implement a matrix as a data-based decision-making process that includes the human element to determine levels of use, impact and concerns for innovations.

  • Identify projects and processes that should remain online, revert back to face-to-face or be improved or revised.

  • Explore communication strategies to highlight the importance of faculty support teams for designing and implementing online/virtual events and content

Topic Description:

The COVID-19 pandemic forced colleges to pivot to online instruction for everything almost overnight.  Many faculty, instructional designers and technologists were key players in this rapid modality switch. Now that we can again work and learn face-to-face, what should we keep doing virtually?  

Institutional leaders frequently use matrices and reports that support data-driven decision making to guide the complex processes of integration of new tools or methods. This session will share specialized decision making matrices and processes that can help participants begin to think through what materials, tools, and techniques they want to proceed with or jettison as they return to face-to-face teaching. These matrices and processes are designed specifically to help educators determine, levels of use and the impact of their instructional innovation as well as to identify concerns that may have arisen when using them and ideas for improving them in the future.  

While data has its place in making decisions about moving forward with innovations, an often overlooked factor in the decision making process is the human element...the people in the trenches.  When considering what should stay and what should go, we also need to assess unique attitudes, beliefs, and experiences (Hall and Hord, 2015) of those who have contributed to successful innovations. This session will explore ways to bring this human element into the decision-making process in order to help gain consensus on what should stay, what should go, and what should be revised for teaching in the new normal.  The session will also cover ways to promote clear communication about successful innovations in teaching and learning in ways that highlight the value of instructional support teams for designing and implementing online/virtual events and content.

The presenters will share examples of their own innovations during COVID as well as how those innovations “measure up” using the decision making tools.  Projects to be shared include:

  • Brown Bags  

  • Course development projects

  • Signature learning experiences 

  • Faculty Development for continuing education credits

Plans for Interactivity:

In order to help participants use such tools to make data informed decisions and communicate value, the presenters will provide them an opportunity to experience the process. Using what they have learned about data-driven decision making tools, they will start the development of their own matrix based on their context to develop a case on what to preserve into the new normal.  Participants will consider how they want to communicate about their experiences during the pivot to online and what will stay and what will go.  There will be time set aside for questions and sharing.


Hall, G. E., & Hord, S. M. (2015). Implementing change: Patterns, principles and potholes (4th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.