What do instructional designers do in higher education?
The work and the placement of instructional designers vary from institution to institution. For instance, my former position was with the Library and Instructional Resources Services. My new position is with a Chancellor’s initiative for online teaching and learning. As for job tasks, if you’re the only designer on campus, you wear many hats. Conversely, you could be a part of a team with several designers. Most of the designers I know are mostly focused on designing and developing online courses, but this is not always the case. Course developers are generally instructional technologists or media specialists.
To illustrate specifically the work of an instructional designer, here are the activities listed from my resume:
- Collaborated with faculty to develop 25 new hybrid and online courses for Theology and MBA graduate programs;
- Conducted quality assurance reviews of all (80) online courses;
- Wrote the Online Course Design Guide for faculty that addresses accessibility and copyright requirements, research-based practices for teaching and learning, and the collaboration process with the instructional designer;
- Managed knowledge via Instructional Design LibGuide for faculty and students;
- Trained faculty on educational technologies, andragogy, and how to make their online courses accessible;
- Supported the Schoology learning management system (LMS) administrator with troubleshooting issues, developing supporting documentation and video tutorials, and LMS adoption (Previously served as LMS administrator for eCollege);
- Participated in the development of the College’s Quality Enhancement Plan;
- Wrote documentation for the College’s accreditation process for distance education, conducted quality assurance checks of reports in Compliance Assist, and served on the Strategic Planning Software Support Team with IT to develop methods and identify platforms for the interchange of input from all stakeholders; and
- Served on the Educational Technology Committee and co-wrote the draft Educational Technology Framework and Distance Education Policy.
Sometimes instructional designers also teach, mentor, and provide service to the community even though it is not required for staff. Here’s a list of my activities:
- Co-taught undergraduate interdisciplinary course (IDS394) on digital citizenship and fact-checking online data at my college;
- Co-coordinator of the New Day Experience reentry project to reduce recidivism in Mobile County for which I supervised three undergraduate students for sociology internship course (SOC299) in 2018-2019 and mentored six student volunteers from 2015-2017;
- Educause Games and Learning Steering Committee;
- Board Member of Emerald Coast TESOL & professional development officer;
- Mentor for Foley Center- Mentored 40 student volunteer English language teachers for the College’s migrant education night program; and
- Board Member of college’s Friends of the Library.
Last, some instructional designers are also involved in research. Read my Research Statement to learn about my activities.
What about you? If you’re an instructional designer, share how this differs or relates to your work.
Sandra Annette Rogers, Ph.D.