Making Innovation a Strategic Priority: Building and Supporting an Instructional Innovation Team

Concurrent Session 1

Session Materials

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Brief Abstract

The Distance Education and Learning Technologies unit at NC State has built a team and a set of processes that support our collaboration with faculty to innovatively improve both classroom and online learning. Learn about what we do, how we do it, and what you can apply at your institution.

Extended Abstract

NC State formed DELTA (Distance Education and Learning Technology Applications) in 1999 to foster and support the development and delivery of online and distance education programs. Since the beginning, DELTA has provided monetary support to individuals and departments to help with the development of courses and programs. DELTA quickly found that skilled people were an essential part of the support that was required. Over the last fourteen years, DELTA built a team now known as Instructional Innovation Services.

Instructional Innovation Services (IIS) consists of instructional designers, media developers, project coordinators and communications experts. This team works on about thirty-five projects every year. One of the challenges is finding a balance between supporting strategic needs for the development of online courses and programs and exploring and researching new tools, technologies and techniques that have promise for improving online education in the future. This challenge manifests itself when choosing what projects to support, when allocating resources to projects, when drawing up timelines for projects and when determining how to work with faculty to solve their instructional challenges.

In the last several years, four IIS projects have been mentioned in the New Media Consortium’s Horizon Report. We have developed a learning game distributed both on the web and as a mobile app. We have participated in the development of a custom gamification module for Moodle. We have created several 360-degree video learning activities. All of this while supporting the launch of an online MBA program and the development or substantial improvement of more than 25 online distance education courses and the redesign of five large critical-path undergraduate courses.

In this presentation, I will talk about the makeup of the team and the critical partnerships we have both within DELTA and across the University. I will discuss the project selection process and criteria we use to decide on each year’s workload so that we support strategic distance education initiatives and continue to have opportunities to explore and innovate. I will talk about our evolving tracking and production processes that let us make decisions about individual project scope and level of innovation within the context of our whole portfolio. And I will talk about the composition and collaboration of our project teams that ensure we explore both known and new approaches to instructional challenges and pursue solutions that match the learning objectives that our faculty present.