Hey! You Put Pedagogy in My Technology!

by Catherine Hillman on March 2, 2016

Peanut Butter CupsRecently somebody asked me if Cal Poly has any instructional designers that can help put together an online course, and if so, where that person might find them. I was delighted to introduce this person to the instructional design services of the CTLT and how we could be of assistance. It occurred to me that perhaps the campus at large needs a reminder of the services offered by the CTLT from our instructional design team for online, hybrid, flipped and (of course) face-to-face classes!

What is an instructional designer and what type of services might you expect from somebody with this title?

An instructional designer is someone who helps faculty create, refine, and reimagine a course that

  • engages students with one another and with the instructor
  • offers meaningful real-world learning activities
  • is mindful of accessibility concerns and honors a diverse audience of learners
  • incorporates thoughtful design approaches that addresses many levels of learning
  • aligns content and assessments with student learning outcomes
  • incorporates technology in a way that enhances (and does not distract from) the learning outcomes of the course

In order to become an instructional designer, one must have a strong background in teaching, pedagogy, classroom management techniques, and emerging educational theories. In addition, we also have strengths and experience in implementing Universal Design for Learning, multiple technologies including web design, multimedia and learning management systems and all of the interactive and collaborative tools that are included in an LMS. Often the road to becoming an instructional designer starts with a jarring fork (the road kind, that is) where one may originally have plans to be an instructor, or a technology specialist, and then suddenly enters the other world, combining the paths in a surreal Reece’s Peanut Butter Cup of skills. It takes some rather diverse talents, and not a small amount of courage, to become an instructional designer.

By now, you are either thinking about peanut butter and chocolate, or you are intrigued by the idea of meeting with an instructional designer. The CTLT can offer you both options at the same time!

So, what might you expect from a consultation with an instructional designer? It truly helps if you can identify an area of your course that you’d like to improve upon, or if you can identify the direction you’d like to take your course in the future. Some examples may include:

  • improving student test scores or refining assessment strategies
  • creating a stronger class community through active learning
  • providing students with more frequent formative assessment opportunities
  • engaging students in authentic assessment projects
  • providing course materials and presentations in PolyLearn for student review
  • creating captioned videos for self-directed learning
  • leveraging advanced PolyLearn tools for group activities, assessments, or other assignments
  • creating opportunities for recorded, synchronous discussions with industry experts

The first step is to identify your goals, and from there we can help you achieve them!

If you’re interested in meeting with an instructional designer for a one-on-one consultation, please contact the CTLT at 756-7002 or email us at ctlt@calpoly.edu and you can set up an appointment with Tonia, Luanne or Catherine, plus some tasty snacks. For a limited time (until they are all gone) we’ll even supply the Reece’s Peanut Butter Cups! (For those allergic to peanuts, we will also offer Junior Mints.)

We hope to hear from you soon!

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