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22st Annual OLC International Conference
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Jumpstart Educational Innovation: Build a Design Team

Oma Singh (University of South Florida, USA)
Session Information
October 16, 2015 - 9:30am
Institutional Strategies & Innovations
Major Emphasis of Presentation: 
Practical Application
Institutional Level: 
Multiple Levels
Audience Level: 
Session Type: 
Information Session
Oceanic 5
Session Duration: 
45 Minutes
Concurrent Session 9

Building a professional instructional design team to promote innovative educational initiatives within a college.

Extended Abstract

The University of South Florida (USF), College of Nursing invested in building an instructional design team about 3 years ago. Subsequently, the team leadership implemented an online course development process that resulted in the design and development of up to 25 online courses, more than 5 online orientations, and more than a 100 interactive multimedia presentations in the past two and a half years. The integration of the design team and the course development process "disrupted" the norm and promoted collaboration between faculty and instructional designers and produced tangible results in online course development. The process not only produces high quality online courses but also promotes a respectful and positive collaboration between faculty and instructional designers. Just as important, the process encourages the faculty to be creative and innovative in developing learning interactions that promotes deeper learning among their students.
The USF College of Nursing leadership re-envisioned the mission and goals of their existing instructional design team. The leadership team was determined to provide their students with more access to online content. Some of the issues that needed to be addressed:
(i) USF College of Nursing had little or no online course alternatives of their didactic type courses for their students to access, (ii) online course development was outsourced and was costly (iii) existing instructional design team consisted of two people and were perceived as technical support for the learning management system rather than professional support for course and faculty development, (iv) no existing process was in place for online course development, and (v) faculty needed pedagogical support resources to develop courses to be delivered via online
The USF College of Nursing, built a small instructional design team, Educational Design and Technology (EDT) about 3 years ago. The prior team was comprised of a Director and a technical support individual. The present team now consists of a Director, 3 Instructional Designers, 1 Multimedia Technologist and 1 graduate assistant. The Director in collaboration with the Associate Dean of Academic Affairs, developed and implemented a 12-week online course development process. The major task for the team was to develop and implement this process. The advantages are: (i) savings in terms of time for content development, in particular, faculty's (Subject Matter Experts) time is concentrated for a short period. The faculty can focus on the course and subject matter for a short period and move on to their main assignments and research (ii) development time is reduced from one or two semesters to twelve weeks, resulting in cost savings, (iii) faculty now have design support to help create innovative learning interactions, and (iv) a higher return on investment (ROI), since the expectation is that a greater number of courses will be converted online at a faster pace. These are not the only advantages but they are recognized as the main advantages.
The college leadership recognized there was a need to create a systematic and efficient process to develop online courses at the USF College of Nursing. The college previously outsourced their online course development but decided that having an internal instructional design team would be cost effective and effective. Currently online courses are developed through a systematic process with instructional designers collaborating with faculty over the course development period. On a week-by-week basis the pattern of interaction usually includes, but are not limited to the following:
- Instructional designer:
* meets with Faculty SME (face to face or virtual), reviews content, clarifies any questions faculty may have concerning process or content development
- contacts Educational Design and Technology (EDT) Director and/or
Associate Dean if any issues arises
- begins or continues development work as needed, integrate Quality Matters rubric
- works with graphic/multimedia specialist to arrange video/audio recording for faculty

Faculty (Subject Matter Expert):
- collaborates with instructional designer (ID) to review progress and address any issues
- develops content and shares with ID

Graphic/Multimedia Technologist:
- collaborates with instructional designer to facilitate graphics and media needs for course
-develops and edits video and/or audio recordings if needed by faculty
These activities are repeated for twelve weeks until the online course is fully developed.

The EDT team, in collaboration with the faculty at the college has produced a significant body of work in the past three years. The online course development process promotes a systematic, yet flexible way for courses at the USF College of Nursing to be developed in a short period while maintaining course quality, and placing value and limit on time to develop. With the online course development process implements over the past two years the following results have been achieved:

Total # of online courses developed
2013 2014
8 6
Total # of Online Course Refinements
2013 2014
1 6
Total # of Online Orientations
2013 2014
3 4

Above and beyond the course development work, the EDT team also guided the student, staff and faculty, through a major change: the university switched their Learning Management System from BlackBoard 9.0 to Canvas. The EDT team played a major role in helping everyone at the college adjust to the changes.

They also provided key assistance as follows:
165: Number of courses the team transferred from the old LMS and set up in the new LMS (it was an intensive hands-on process as it could not be automated to prevent loss of content)
96: Number of hours in one on one meetings (this does not include one on one hours for LMS and other technology help)
96: Number of 1 hr Open Help Sessions held throughout the year to help faculty/staff with Canvas questions or show how to do tasks in Canvas

The outcome of integrating the team and the process resulted in a 7% increase in online course revenue and an 8% increase in overall online student enrollment in fiscal year 2013 to 2014.

Overall, the decision to build an instructional design team within the college not only provided a means to address several issues the college was facing, but it also helped to empower the faculty to explore and create innovative educational approaches.