Monday, October 17, 2011

Ask My Readers: Working With an Instructional Designer

Sometimes I take questions from readers, but today I have a question for you.

My college will bring its first full-time Instructional Designer on board soon.

For those of who have worked with instructional designers on your campuses, what should we try to encourage? What should we be extra careful to avoid?

The point of the hire is primarily to help take the online courses to a higher level of quality. Having someone whose job it is to be current in the technology field, and who has a background in teaching, will (I hope) help faculty find and adapt the innovations that work best for their courses and styles. (I assume that process will involve a fair amount of culling. Tech that might make sense in one course might not in another.)

I can imagine that if we aren’t careful, the instructional designer could quickly be relegated to the status of a helpdesk technician. Alternately, if we go too far in the other direction, she could come off as an imposition.

To my mind, she’s be part scout, part coach, and part consultant. But the devil is always in the details.

For those who have experience either as instructional designers or as faculty working with them, what are the traps? If you knew then what you know now, what would you have done differently?