Instructional Designers in Higher Education: The Role, Responsibilities and Experiences of Instructional Designers

Join Acrobatiq, EdSurge, Intentional Futures and OLC as we explore the role of the instructional designer and how their role has evolved in higher education. Designed to further explore the recent report, Instructional Design in Higher Education, each webinar will feature a panel of experts on the given topic. 

In this webinar, learn all about instructional designers; their role, responsibilities and experience. Topics include:

  • The evolving and emerging role of the ID,
  • The ID as a hidden asset on campus,
  • The tragedy of being multi-talented,
  • And the difficulty with awareness of the ID role in higher education.
Speaker Bio

Sean Hobson, Arizona State University
Sean Hobson is Assistant Vice President and Chief Design Officer for EdPlus at Arizona State University, where he leads strategic design initiatives and partnerships to solve complex issues in higher education. Sean’s strong background in communications and instructional design fosters his ability to work well with technology and understand how it can be used effectively and responsibly to promote successful outcomes.

As ASU’s first Chief Design Officer, Sean believes design is at the core of driving meaningful innovation. He has directed some of the most impactful course redesign efforts, garnering recognition in The New York Times, The Chronicle of Higher Education and Scientific American. Sean was involved ASU’s partnership with Mayo Clinic – focused on the integration of online learning modules into the current Mayo Medical School curriculum. He also worked on Starbucks’ groundbreaking College Achievement Plan, helping to address student retention and success outcomes.

During his time at ASU, Sean has also served as lead designer and project manager, where he’s collaborated with talented designers and analysts to solve massive challenges in education.

Sean earned his B.S. and M.S. degrees from Clarion University in Clarion, Pennsylvania.

Jennifer Rafferty, Online Learning Consortium
Jennifer Rafferty provides leadership in researching, scoping, managing, and evaluating a full range of professional development solutions for multiple audiences within the OLC Institute. She has worked for over 15 years 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.

Brian Salerno, Brandeis University
Brian Salerno is the Director of Online Learning & Instructional Design and the academic program chair for the Master of Science in Instructional Design and Technology at Brandeis University. Brian leads a team of instructional designers and faculty support specialists in the design and delivery of online, blended, flipped, and technology-enhance courses and programs across a wide variety of disciplines at the university. Brian‘s team provides one-on-one course development support and consultation, faculty development programming, pedagogical and technology training, and e-learning content development services for faculty.  Brian has worked for nearly 15 years in the fields of instructional design, academic technology, and interactive media development, and has led and supported online and blended learning initiatives at a number of colleges and universities. In addition to his alt-ac career, Brian and has taught undergraduate and graduate courses in instructional design, multimedia production, media history, and project management. Brian holds a BA in Communications and Media Production, an MS in Interactive Media from Quinnipiac University and is currently pursuing a Doctor of Education from Northeastern University. His research focus involves the exploration of evidence-based effective practices for supporting job satisfaction and teaching effectiveness among remote faculty teaching fully-online courses. 


Kristin Powers, Intentional Futures