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22st Annual OLC International Conference
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Integrated Instructional Design: Building A Process for Creating Multi-Disciplinary Courses At the Graduate Level

Kimberly J. Brower (University of Southern California, USA)
Elizabeth Wellman (University of Southern California, USA)
Theresa Bruece (University of Southern California, USA)
Lanore Larson (University of Southern California, USA)
Session Information
October 15, 2015 - 9:15am
Institutional Strategies & Innovations
Major Emphasis of Presentation: 
Practical Application
Major Emphasis of Presentation: 
Theory/Conceptual Framework
Institutional Level: 
Universities and Four Year Institutions
Audience Level: 
Session Type: 
Information Session
Southern Hemisphere I
Session Duration: 
45 Minutes
Concurrent Session 5
Virtual Session
Best in Track

This interactive presentation demonstrates a model for successfully creating multi-disciplinary courses by maximizing efficiencies with integrated instructional design teams.

Extended Abstract

To provide a model for the process of successfully creating multi-disciplinary courses from pre-production to production to post-production. Participants will become familiar with an Integrated Instructional Design Process that fosters Team Based Emergent Practices. This process will be discussed in detail, providing participants with both a conceptual and a practical perspective on this approach. Inherent to the approach is teams of instructional designers who work with faculty members at different phases of the course design and development process, with one "touch point" throughout to maintain continuity and structure. We will share how this both facilitates forward movement and allows us to create synergies in cross-pollinating ideas between faculty and designers.

USC Marshall's most recent online program, the Online MBA (OMBA) program launches in fall 2015. The OMBA program distinguishes itself in that it takes an integrated curricular approach. This necessitates a change in the traditional, sequential one instructional designer per subject matter expert model that we have used in developing previous online programs. When tasked with the design and development of a multi-disciplinary course with four subject-matter experts, we developed a strategy for working with the faculty members that mirrored that inter-disciplinary model through our instructional design process.

Intended Audience
Our intended audience is administrators and program leaders, instructional design coordinators and instructional designers. This presentation will be particularly pertinent to those professionals who are looking for alternatives to their own instructional design process and those who are offering or considering offering multidisciplinary courses.

Interactive Presentation
We will facilitate an interactive presentation through modelling our process as the core presentation method, engaging the expertise of the audience and including them in the discourse. Although limited in nature, emergent from this inclusion will be ideas and approaches that the audience contributes as well as our ideas and approaches.

Our Program
Instructional Design Model: The model we are creating is an Integrated Instructional Design Model for Team Based Emergent Practices. It is built on an instructional design team whose members bring a wide variety of experiences, expertise and perspectives to the table.

The diversity of the team provides an ideal environment for emergent practice. When presented with a challenge, we have the capacity to generate and consider multiple solutions. We engage in open discourse, as distinguished from discussion, valuing each other's divergent strengths and perspectives. We see the constructive discord inherent in this process as our opportunity for growth.

As a result, an instructional design and development ecosystem is created that exhibits flexibility, interchangeability and reflective practices utilizing an iterative process. This ecosystem is supported by a physically open environment and brief daily scrums that allow the team to holistically address emerging requirements in a given project quickly and efficiently. Decision-making, problem-solving and instructional design for projects are all accomplished within this framework.

At USC Marshall, pre-production includes an Open House for professors to familiarize themselves with our production process and toolsets as well as to observe previous online courses and listen to previous faculty experiences. We discuss approaches to preparing video content, facilitating a flipped classroom and other pedagogical alternatives, and give prospective faculty a "dry run" of taping in the studio.

Critical to this experience are the interrelationships formed by the faculty with one another and with the instructional design team. Instructional Designers interact in ways that model the team-based approach to professors. We encourage and facilitate professors voicing their thoughts, questions and concerns. These are then fed back into our iterative instructional design process.

Professors have a chance to observe interactions amongst the instructional design team and to interact with one another, establishing critical conversations around the content. The challenge is that our professors are being asked to change their process, teaching a multidisciplinary course online for the first time, which can be both difficult and anxiety provoking. As we work with faculty on integrated learning outcomes, course mapping and development of materials, we demonstrate interchangeability and team communication skills to facilitate an integrated course design.

Another key component of the Integrated Instructional Design approach is the "touch point." Recognizing that faculty members need the reassurance and relationship that is often found in one-on-one sequential instructional design approaches, we have devised a two-point process in which faculty always have at least one consistent contact. First, the lead designer for the project establishes initial contact with faculty members and then continues to maintain weekly contact as the project progresses. She becomes the integrated anchor for the multi-disciplinary instructional design team. In addition, each of the instructional designers working on the team has the opportunity to act as the anchors for the relay of faculty from one stage to another throughout the production process

From the instructional design team perspective, this approach helps avoid bottlenecks in production, reduces gaps in personnel, and keeps the process fluid and in forward motion. No one instructional designer is the sole holder of information or relationships. It also allows us to come up with both options and opportunities to lessen the impact of the change and facilitate professors through a successful course development. While we engage in team based emergent practices, such as scrums, email cc'ing, "tiny" crowd sourcing techniques and "prairie-dogging", we are modelling an approach to our professors that they can use when collaborating with one another on the content of the program. This approach also respects that all of us - novice and expert - are resources to the process and have a positive contribution to make to problem solving and decision making.

Post-production - Implementation
As we move to post-production, continued discourse among the instructional designers and faculty is key. We engage in reflective practices at this time and quality assurance. Our process facilitates a greater ability to sculpt the course and provide just in time, practical and targeted faculty training for their instructional approaches to optimize use of synchronous and asynchronous environments. These approaches will support the faculty in moving from teacher driven to student driven learning.

Lead Presenter

Kimberly J. Brower (University of Southern California, USA)

Kim Brower has been instrumental in the design and development of online courses and programs at the University of Southern California, Marshall School of Business since 2009 when she designed and developed the first online component for the Knight Digital Media Center News Entrepreneur Boot Camp, presented in partnership with USC Annenberg School of Communication & Journalism and the Marshall School of Business. In 2011, she joined USC MarshallÕs newly-formed Online Learning team to lead the design and development of the online Master of Business Taxation program. In 2014, she became an Associate Director of Online Learning, in charge of the Instructional Design team. Kim is a published author and has taught online, hybrid and campus-based courses at the University of Southern California, California State University Fullerton, Argosy University and University Of Phoenix. She earned a BS in Business and a Master of Professional Writing from USC and a post-graduate Certificate in eLearning Instructional Design from UC Irvine. Kim is currently earning her EdD in Educational Psychology at USC's Rossier School of Education.


Elizabeth Wellman (University of Southern California, USA)


Theresa Bruece (University of Southern California, USA)
Lanore Larson (University of Southern California, USA)

Lanore designs online instruction at the Marshall School of Business at the University of Southern California, as well as contributing to the restructuring of core curriculum and professional development support of the undergraduate business program faculty. Lanore has conducted instructional development for the University of the Pacific and Loyola Marymount University, as well as presenting at national, state, regional and local education conferences. Lanore holds both an M.B.A. and a Master’s in Education from the University of Southern California and has had specialized training in the Stanford University Graduate School of Education.