Instructional Design Summit - Part 2: Breakout Topic Discussions

Concurrent Session 5
OLC Session

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Brief Abstract

In Session 2 of the ID Summit you’ll choose one breakout topic to explore. You’ll have a chance to brainstorm ideas and share resources about your chosen topic/prompt.  There will be a collaborative notes document where you’ll work together to create recommendations for addressing challenges associated with the topic. We have created an engagement key which describes the level of interaction that will take place in these breakout sessions.   

Sponsored By


Jennifer Paloma Rafferty ( Pronouns: she, her, hers) provides leadership in researching, scoping, managing, and evaluating a full range of professional development solutions for multiple audiences within the OLC Institute for Professional Development. She has worked since 1999 supporting online learning initiatives in higher education and in the adult basic education system. Jennifer assumed this role at OLC after working for over seven years as an instructional designer at Quinnipiac University Online in Hamden, Connecticut. During her time at Quinnipiac University, Jennifer was also responsible for spearheading the development of the first online Spanish course at the University. She continues to teach this specialized curriculum for the School of Nursing and presents both nationally and internationally on the topic of online foreign language instruction. Prior to working in higher education, Jennifer was the project manager for the Massachusetts Adult Basic Education Distance Learning Project. In this role, she collaborated with the Massachusetts Department of Education and Project IDEAL to research and identify best practices for distance learning programs serving adult GED and ESL students. Jennifer holds a Masters of Education in Instructional Design from UMASS Boston, a Masters of Arts in Spanish from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and an undergraduate degree in Romance Languages from Mount Holyoke College.
With over 15 years in higher education and online course development, I provide instructional design support to faculty in the development and improvement of online/hybrid/F2F courses to improve student success outcomes. My journey into issues of equity, inclusion, and diversity was kick-started several years ago and I began reading books and articles, attending programs and workshops, and getting involved with equity initiatives on my campus. My journey continues to push me to think about how systems impact my work as an instructional designer and those that encounter my designs. I love connecting around topics of design justice, co-design, ethics, and instructional design decision-making. When I'm not thinking about all of these engaging topics, you can find me with my family, either on the soccer field with my son or the funky art shops with my daughter. My husband and I love to hike and be outside and our two dogs, Mojo and Pepper, would agree that this is a good way to spend every day (if they could!). Food, books, and good (decaf) coffee all rank high on my 'ways to be more hygge' list, as well. Hope to connect with you around shared interests online or in conference spaces!
Dr. Olysha Magruder is currently the Assistant Director, Center for Learning Design, at the Whiting School of Engineering, Engineering for Professionals, Johns Hopkins University. Prior to this, she worked as an instructional design at Hopkins and other higher education institutions as an instructional designer and adjunct faculty. Olysha started her career in a K-12 classroom, which sparked her love for all things teaching and learning. She is a graduate of the University of Florida's Educational Technology doctoral program. Her research interests include faculty development, blended learning, instructional design, and leadership.
Penny has designed online courses since 1997. She is currently a senior instructional designer for the Penn State World Campus. Her research interests include student perspectives of quality and how this impacts the design practice; and the use of games and simulations in online instruction. She has presented at various regional, national, and international conferences and is a former chair of the Quality Matters Instructional Designers Association. She co-authored the book MindMeld: Micro-Collaboration between eLearning Designers and Instructor Experts with Jon Aleckson.
German E. Vargas Ramos is a learning designer for the Center for Teaching and Learning at Otterbein University in Westerville, Ohio, and a PhD candidate in the math, science, and learning technologies program of the College of Education at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. He has a BA in English from the University of Puerto Rico Mayaguez and an MEd in learning media and technologies from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. His research focuses on sociocultural theories of learning, critical literacy, and inclusive instructional design.

Extended Abstract

Here is the list of breakout topics to choose from:

Breakout Group Topic #1: Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
Moderated by German Vargas Ramos, Amy Archambault

Instructional designers are in a unique position to review an instructor’s course and ask meaningful, targeted questions about purpose and content. In this breakout, we’ll explore how we get at those sensitive topics, as well as, think about what it means to think functionally and ethically about course design within our roles as instructional designers. 

During this session, we’ll take the first 10 minutes individually to explore the “10 Principles” from  We’ll then spend some time reflecting and discussion how these principles might impact our work in 4 different areas: Learning Experience, Collaboration, Technology, and New Approaches.  By the end of our session, we’ll have a collaborative handout to share on the ways these principles might impact our work and how we might plan on using them at our institutions.

Engagement Expectations

  • Interaction icon for ID SummitInteraction Level – Medium
  • Participation icon for ID SummitParticipation Level – Medium
  • Structure icon for ID SummitStructure Level – Medium

Recommended Reading


Breakout Group Topic #2: Improvisation Skills for Instructional Designers
Moderated by Penny Ralston-Berg 

The subject matter expert (SME) / ID relationship can be complicated. Subject matter experts may not understand what designers do or push back on proposed solutions. Designers may not have the experience or confidence to react to a SME’s questioning and rejection in the moment. It can be difficult to establish trust and build collaborative relationships with SMEs. However, by adopting an improvisational mindset, IDs can learn to think quickly, react positively, and keep conversations moving forward in the moment. 

Whether you choose to share your improvisational skills with the group or just observe as a spectator, you will have the opportunity to play games, have fun, and gain insights into building better SME relationships. By practicing the improvisational techniques of noticing more, letting go of preconceived expectations, and using everything that is presented to us, we can build more productive and collaborative relationships with SMEs.

Submit an idea for a scene or volunteer to perform in a game.

Engagement Expectations 

  • Interaction icon for ID SummitInteraction Level – Medium
  • Participation icon for ID SummitParticipation Level – Medium
  • Structure icon for ID SummitStructure Level – High

Additional Resources:


Breakout Group Topic #3: The Good, the Bad, the Technology You Love and Hate
Moderated by Cindy Schanke 

How has the pandemic changed the tech you recommend to faculty? In 2020, Zoom became ubiquitous overnight and other technologies became more popular or fell out of favor. Considering all of the changes in teaching expectations and needs within the last year, think about tech you have grown to love this year and those that you no longer recommend. For the first half of the session, we will work independently in a collaborative form where you will list one piece of technology you love to recommend and one you don’t. For the second half of the session, add your comments, debate the pros and cons, add additional resources, discuss, and share ideas. Leave the meeting with a list of technology recommendations for 2021.

Engagement Expectations 

  • Interaction icon for ID SummitInteraction Level – Low
  • Participation icon for ID SummitParticipation Level – High
  • Structure icon for ID SummitStructure Level – Low


Breakout group topic #4: The Future of Design Work:  How will our work change as a result of the pandemic?
Moderated by Olysha Magruder

Think back to January 2020. How did you work? What was your main focus? Fast forward to today. How are you working now? How has work changed on your team, if at all? How will work be different going forward? As 2020 taught us, we can’t predict the future. We can, however, use the past year to inform it. In the first part of this session, we will review recent survey data on the state of work in design shops pre- and post-pandemic. We will explore the differences we have found in our own contexts and discuss how we think things will change in the long-term. We will document these ideas and thoughts in a collaborative space to look for overarching themes and ideas. 

Engagement Expectations 

  • Interaction icon for ID SummitInteraction Level – Medium
  • Participation icon for ID SummitParticipation Level – Medium
  • Structure icon for ID SummitStructure Level – Medium

Recommended Reading: