The Brandeis GPS blog

Insights on online learning, tips for finding balance, and news and updates from Brandeis GPS

Tag: instructional design (page 1 of 2)

From student to commencement speaker to alumna

In 2015, Brandeis GPS profiled Kara Wasnewsky (Noonan), a now alumna of our Instructional Design and Technology master’s program. We spoke with Kara again in 2017 as she was getting ready to give her commencement speech last May. Now, almost a year later, we sat down with Kara and talked about her accomplishments and current job as an Instructional Designer at Regis College in Weston, MA.

In her role, she works one-on-one with faculty to design online and hybrid courses as well as offer guidance on integrating technology into the classroom. She also facilitates professional development workshops around instructional design and technology.

Read on for Kara’s thoughts on her journey to instructional design in her own words.


On her journey to instructional design:

Instructional design didn’t hit my radar until I started working for Pearson, an educational publisher. My role at the time was to project manage the development of media for their large courseware products, but what I really wanted to do was design them. Design strategy came from the instructional designers, so I set my sights on becoming an instructional designer. 

As I finished my coursework in instructional design, I started considering opportunities outside of my current company and decided that I would like most to work directly with higher education faculty to design courses.

On what she finds particularly rewarding about working as an instructional designer in higher ed:

I have worked with a couple of faculty who were nervous about teaching online when they first came to work with me. Many of them did not believe that online courses could be as effective as the face-to-face courses they have been teaching. It is so rewarding to see these faculty start to get excited about their online courses and what they can do in the learning management system.

On the impact her Brandeis GPS degree made on her career:

What I learned in Brandeis’ Instructional Design and Technology program was immediately transferable to my role as an Instructional Designer. In the program, I learned the process of designing effective instruction, which is the same process I have the faculty implement for their courses. 

Most importantly, I learned what the role of an instructional designer is and can be, which has been integral to my success. On my first day, it was expected that I knew the role and what I needed to do, and it is up to me to provide the strategy for moving instructional design at Regis forward.

On advice to those considering a career in instructional design: 

To be successful in a role like mine you do need to be knowledgeable about instructional design and the common technologies used for instruction in a higher education setting. My advice for anyone considering instructional design is for them to pursue it. It is a challenging profession, but it is a lot of fun. There are a lot of exciting things happening in this field, especially in higher education.


It’s been great to talk with Kara over the years and see her evolve from student to commencement speaker to an accomplished instructional designer.

To learn more about the part-time, online MS in Instructional Design and Technology, contact our enrollment team at gps@brandeis.edu or 781-736-8787.

Brandeis University’s Graduate Professional Studies division (GPS) offers fully online, part-time master’s degrees and professional development courses in today’s most in-demand fields. With four 10-week sessions each year, students can complete their degree in as little as 18 months. Courses are led by industry experts who deliver professional insights and individualized support. Brandeis GPS is dedicated to extending the rigorous academic standards that make Brandeis University one of the top institutions in the country to a diverse population seeking to advance their careers through continuing studies. Brandeis is a medium-sized private research university with a global reach, dedicated to first-rate undergraduate education and the making of groundbreaking discoveries. The university’s 5,700 undergraduate and graduate students are motivated, compassionate, curious, and open to exploring new and challenging experiences. 

SPOTLIGHT ON JOBS: BOSTON PRIVATE BANK & TRUST COMPANY

 

Spotlight on Jobs - Brandeis GPS Online Education - Brandeis GPS Blog

Members of the Brandeis GPS Community may submit job postings from within their industries to advertise exclusively to our community. This is a great way to further connect and seek out opportunities as they come up. If you are interested in posting an opportunity, please complete the following form found here.

Where: Boston Private Bank & Trust Company in Boston, MA

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“What’s an instructional designer?”

By Lance Eaton

Lance Eaton - Brandeis GPS Online Education - Brandeis GPS BlogThat’s always the first question I get when I tell people that I am an instructional designer (an ID for those of us “in the know”).

It all started when I was 6 years old, and my dad asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I peered up into his face and said with an earnest seriousness that no child should muster, “I want to be an instructional designer.”

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Upcoming UX webinar: a story-first approach to human-centered design

Thursday, Oct. 27, 2016
2-3 p.m. EDT
Hosted by Lou Susi, Program Chair of the MS in User-Centered Design

louis-susi - Brandeis GPS Online Education - Brandeis GPS BlogWhen we design for experience, subtle and peculiar shifts come into play that demand a uniquely compassionate way of thinking about and guiding our practice. This webinar will explore:

  • The benefits of putting story concepts at the center of a human-centered design approach to improve the design process
  • The quality of a total human experience we’re ultimately all creating through our work.
  •  High-level perspectives, philosophies and mindsets pertaining to both design thinking and decision-making

Learn more and register!

#WhatsYourWhy Wednesday with Tara Holderith

We know that pursuing a master’s degree can be overwhelming, particularly for students who work full-time and are already balancing professional and personal commitments. We also know that every student has a unique reason that drives him or her to return to school and complete their degree.

Last fall, we held a scholarship competition and asked our students to tell us their story — their why — behind their decision to enroll in a graduate program. This series will profile our scholarship winners.

Read previous #WhatsYourWhy Wednesday posts here, here and here.

Tara with one of her students

Tara with one of her students

Graduate Professional Studies: I’m here with Tara Holderith, a student in our Master of Science in Instructional Design and Technology program. Congratulations on winning our first “What’s Your Why” scholarship! Tell us where you’re from.

Tara Holderith: Thank you! I’m from Dingmans Ferry, Pennsylvania.

GPS: How many courses have you taken with GPS so far?

TH: I’ve taken four courses. My first term was this past summer, and I took Principles of Online Instructional Design and Professional Communications. In the fall, I took Learning Analytics, which was a new course, and Advanced Instructional Design. This term I also enrolled in two courses.

GPS: Could you tell us about your day job?

TH: I’ve been teaching for 18 years. I am currently a sixth grade mathematics teacher in New Jersey.

GPS: What was the main driver in helping you decide to go back to school to get your graduate degree?

TH: I had both professional and personal reasons. Last winter, our school principal approached me and started a conversation about pedagogy and instructional design. He realized my passion and challenged me to go back to school. At first I was like “with what time?” But after careful consideration and some research, the rest is history.

GPS: What do you hope to gain professionally with this degree?

TH: Professionally, I want to gain more cutting-edge skillsets. My passion is designing innovative pedagogy according to best practices, so I’m hoping to develop even more skills in addition to those I have already learned in just four classes here at GPS.

GPS: Glad to hear! What do you hope to gain personally out of the program?

TH: I’ve come to the program to be a lifelong learner and learning for learning’s sake. I already have a master’s degree so getting another one isn’t going to directly benefit me financially. However, in terms of my personal growth and my desire to continue learning, this was the perfect opportunity for me and it was directly aligning with what I was looking for.

GPS: Awesome! Why do you think you will be successful in graduate school?

TH: I was just having this conversation with one of my supervisors and I said that when it comes to work ethic, there is no limit with me. Time is never an issue because I will do whatever it takes to complete the workload. I do have three children so it has cost me sleep on different occasions, but because I love educating and bettering myself it is really no bother to me.

GPS: Can you think of an example of any course assignment that you have directly utilized in a current or previous role at work?

TH: I was thinking about this question recently, and I’ve come to the conclusion that there are so many different assignments that have actually been relevant. As a mother of three working full-time, time is very limited so I’ve been combining a lot of my work duties with my school responsibilities. I’ve found there is a lot of alignment, which has enabled me to give 100 percent to both my job and school.

GPS: Now a couple of fun questions. What do you like to do outside of work and school?

TH: Two of my children are USA swimmers so I spend a lot of time at swim meets. When I’m not doing that, I enjoy reading anything I can get my hands on, and I like to exercise and hike.

Enjoying nature with family

Enjoying nature with family

GPS: Are you a swimmer too?

TH: I was, but I always say that even though I am not a swimmer now, chlorine still seems to be my perfume and colleagues have even said that they can smell it on me.

GPS: Anything else you would like to add?

TH: Just that I’m extremely grateful to be part of this program. It has been such an opportunity for me and like I said before, I’m doing it because I love learning and so far it has been exactly what I expected plus more. I’ve developed a great cohort of classmates already and I really enjoy the diversity in terms of our professional experience.

Learning Analytics

Data is increasing with the use of learning technologies, and data is being produced at virtually every learning footprint. The next step in the process is to take the data and analyze the connections to improve the entire learning experience.

Learning analytics is the measurement, collection, analysis, and reporting of data about the learners and their contexts for the purpose of understanding and optimizing learning and the environment in which it occurs. [1]

Learning analytics has been around for some time. Its origin can be traced to business intelligence and to predicting consumer behavior. Learning analytics in education has emerged in the last few
decades, and it follows similar analysis and predictive relationships. Learning analytics is growing to keep pace with deciphering patterns from huge data sets to further support and personalize the learning experience.

My interest in learning analytics stems from my research on learning style preferences. The hypothesis was that, if you could determine a user’s learning style preference, then you could optimally display content in a form to best suit the way a learner could interpret it; you could support their success. At that time, most analysis had to be completed prior to the learning, and then you could track users accordingly. Real-time data analysis was in its infancy. The vision then was that, in the future, this could be done via machine learning, with data analysis and dynamically serving up content in a format that learners best understood. Today, those capabilities exist in some learning management systems in the form of learning analytics and adaptive learning.

Currently, most learning management systems are able to track a student’s footprint throughout a course. It can document when a user logs in and logs out, and they can determine the type of content they viewed and for how long. They can also alert students to assignments, assessments and most course requirements, including their status within each course. Some learning systems have dashboards that indicate the students’ progress compared to their expectations and compared to their cohorts’ performance.

 

In my opinion, most learning management systems are good at data reporting, but they fall short in data analysis and in relationships. The challenge is to harness the data and to make reasonable connections, so that meaningful, positive and proactive interventions can be made; ultimately, we hope to improve the instructional process and student success.

Why use learning analytics:

Learning analytics has relevance and usefulness across various groups, including instructors, students, instructional designers and institutions.

Instructors:

Instructors can use learner analytics to gain insight into student progress:

  • Course navigation paths
  • Most popular content
  • Reflection time
  • Problem-solving
  • Measurement of student engagement and participation
  • Assignment and assessment completion

Analytics can also be used as an early warning system for at-risk students; they can trigger appropriate messaging.


Students:

Students can use learner analytics to gain insight into their progress:

  • Seeing their progress and grades
  • Tracking their progress against course requirements
  • Comparing their progress with their cohorts
  • Tracking content and resources

Instructional designers:

As computer technologies develop and more learning components are online, it is essential for learning specialists to evaluate the impact of each emerging technology and to investigate the strengths, weaknesses and appropriate applications for the learners. Sometimes, this is in the form of a retrospective analysis, but increasingly this analysis can be done closer to the time of the event for more agile course adjustments.

Learning analytics can also be used for continuous improvement of the learning design, such as increasing learner engagement, expanding knowledge retention and improving course and program
outcomes.

Institutions:

Learning analytics can be applied at the institutional level for reporting usage trends. In the future, courses could have personality profiles based on course metadata. These items could include tags, such as “projects-based learning,” “discussions,” “hybrid” and “synchronous.” Each metadata tag could also have an associated strength. Each student would also have his or her own evolving learning personality profile.

This data matching would be similar to how Amazon recommends products based on a customer’s purchasing history and behavior. To optimize student success, the recommendation engine architecture could suggest courses that best match the profiles and that mesh with individual learning styles.

Learning analytics—one view but not the whole picture:

It would be short sighted to think that the landscape of learning analytics is only within the confines of an online learning management system. It is increasingly apparent that the majority of learning
occurs outside of the learning management system; it is only the tip of the iceberg. Learning also occurs informally, such as through social media, experiences and discussions. Learning analytics should be inclusive, capturing all learning opportunities. The Experience API (xAPI) has been developed as a mechanism to record and track all types of learning experiences. Ultimately, inclusion of this learning data will broaden analysis and connections. However, in my experience in piloting the xAPI, it is more elusive than reality. It will take time for the experiential footprints to be folded into the mix of the learning data.

Summary:

Learning analytics is not a one-time, one-size-fits-all approach. It is dynamic, as the parts of the system change and grow. Learning analytics is an emerging field that can benefit many; it has the potential of being a significant factor in improving the overall learning experience in educational institutions or in corporate training.

References:

[1] Society for Learning Analytics Research, 2011.

[2] Low, G. (1995). A study of the effects of learning style preference on achievement in a medical computer simulation (Doctoral dissertation). Retrieved from UMI Dissertation Database (Accession No. ALMA BOSU1 21625699380001161)

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Meet GPS Student Kara Noonan

Want to hear about the Brandeis GPS student experience straight from a firsthand source? Meet Kara Noonan, a current Brandeis GPS student enrolled in the instructional design and technology master’s program. Kara is currently an Associate Media Producer at Pearson.

Karen Wasnewsky - Brandeis GPS Online Education - Brandeis GPS Blog

When she decided to get a graduate degree, Kara knew she wanted an online program that combined instructional technology and instructional design.

So why Brandeis GPS?

“After a great deal of intense research, I discovered that the Brandeis program provided the ideal integration of edtech and instructional design that I searched for, “Noonan said.

So far, it seems like her research and final decision to attend Brandeis Graduate Professional Studies is paying off. The skills learned from the classroom and fellow classmates have helped Kara enhance her overall career at Pearson.

“I learned how to create a goal or outcome in order for a video to have a lasting effect on a learner. With this in mind, I was able to design videos in a more critical manner and assure that the video met a certain expectation.”

In addition to classwork, online discussions with classmates enabled Kara to gain an overall bigger picture perspective of the instructional design industry as a whole.

“One of my classmates uses a Pearson math lab in their school. Students were able to add their opinions and critiques about the product which provided positives and negatives to a relevant real world device.”

Student interactions like these prove to provide very valuable and eye opening information into real world issues.

Overall, Kara was able to make a smooth transition to the online experience.

“Some aspects are similar to traditional classroom work while others vary greatly. As a quiet student, I find it easier to participate in discussions in an online environment and do not have to deal with the nerves involved with speaking in class.”

 

This seamless adjustment and valuable learning that has already been gained at Brandeis GPS makes Kara quick to recommend this program to her coworkers.

“Having an instructional design background is extremely beneficial. The program provides specialization, helps to shape the way you think about organization, and aids in transitioning into the digital world.”

Not only has Kara felt a deep impact from the Instructional Design & Technology program, but her impact was felt in the classroom as well.

 “Kara is an exceptional instructional design student,” said program chair and instructor Brian Salerno. “She has the unique ability to immediately connect and apply the learning material to her own professional environment, and actively harnesses what she learns in order to continuously improve herself and her organization. Through sharing her insights and observations so generously, Kara promoted a more dynamic and interesting discussion among her classmates.”

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SPOTLIGHT ON JOBS: New England College of Business-Two Positions

spotlight-CHANGED-300x200SPOTLIGHT ON JOBS

Members of the Brandeis GPS Community may submit job postings from within their industries to advertise exclusively to our community. This is a great way to further connect and seek out opportunities as they come up. If you are interested in posting an opportunity, please complete the following form found here.

WhereNew England College of Business: Boston, MA

Position: eLearning Instructional Designer

The eLearning Instructional Designer role is a professional, team-centered position responsible for the design, development and implementation of online courses in the Canvas learning management system. The eLearning Instructional Designer creates and implements effective online courses, researches and evaluates emerging instructional technologies and tools, and models effective design practices. This position requires an individual to work with a high level of independence, have strong project management, communication and collaboration skills, and a passion for creating innovative educational solutions for students and faculty.

Job Duties:

  • Work collaboratively with Program Chairs, faculty subject-matter experts, and eLearning team members to design, develop, evaluate, implement, and maintain effective online college courses in the Canvas learning management system.
  • Provide instructional design assistance to faculty SMEs, recommending appropriate tools and course design structure.
  • Film and edit video clips and audio files to incorporate in online courses. Identify and edit graphics for use in instructional materials.
  • Manage and complete projects within a specified timeline while prioritizing and working on multiple projects simultaneously. Excellent time management skills are required.
  • Facilitate the sharing of new learning, instructional techniques, and instructional technologies,including emerging technologies in creative and collaborative ways.
  • Keep current on changes to the LMS; deliver pertinent information to the team.
  • Look for ways improve process & procedures; troubleshoot LMS issues as needed

Qualifications: 

  • Bachelors degree in Instructional Design, Educational Technology, or a related field; Masters degree preferred.
  • 3+ years eLearning instructional design experience working with various learning management systems; experience working in higher education a plus.
  • Graphic design and audio/video editing experience required. Experience evaluating, selecting, and/or using emerging instructional technologies.
  • Excellent written, oral, interpersonal, and presentation skills used to communicate effectively with people at varying levels of computer literacy.
  • Specialization in one or more of the following: project management, instructional design, using dynamic and interactive tools, knowledge of HTML, CSS, JavaScript, Adobe Creative Suite, Camtasia, Captivate, Photoshop, Web 2.0 tools, Dream Weaver and other related applications.
  • Knowledge of adult learning principles, constructivism, facilitation and learner-centered activities in an online environment preferable.
  • Personal Traits – Ability to be creative, flexible and innovative in course design. Ability to successfully manage multiple projects simultaneously. Strong out-of-the-box thinking is a must. Ability to work collaboratively with Program Chairs and faculty subject matter experts. Demonstrated ability to work both independently and as part of a development team. Willingness to work a flexible schedule that may include some nights and weekends.

To receive full consideration for this position, candidates are asked to submit a Resume/CV and cover letter with salary requirements to the careers site.


Position: Junior eLearning Instructional Designer

The New England College of Business (NECB) eLearning team is seeking an eager Junior eLearning Instructional Designer looking to grow his/her skills and become part of our collaborative team! This position offers the opportunity to work in a fast-paced, innovative, and creative environment. The Junior Instructional Designer role is a professional, team-centered position aiding in the design, development and implementation of online courses in the Canvas learning management system. The Junior ID works closely with the eLearning Instructional Design team to develop necessary multimedia and course resources. The Junior ID collaborates with Instructional Designers and Program Chairs in order to administer the setup of courses for both graduate and undergraduate and assists with Tier 2 help desk support for students and faculty.

Job Duties: 

  • Provide Canvas learning management system support to ensure proper course setup for undergraduate and graduate sessions.
  • Aid in course document maintenance and course integrity.
  • Film and edit video clips and audio files to incorporate in online courses. Edit graphics for use in instructional materials.
  • Design course elements, as directed by Senior Instructional Designer.
  •  Assist team members with new course builds and training projects. Excellent time management skills are required to handle simultaneous assignments.
  • Work with Program Chairs and Instructional Designers to evaluate and update existing courses.
  • Provide Canvas Administrative support and training to faculty, staff, and students as needed.

Qualifications:

  • Bachelors degree in Instructional Design, Educational Technology, or a related field.
  • 0-2 years experience in administrative duties as well as Instructional Design knowledge in an LMS system in Higher Education is preferred.
  • Excellent written, oral, interpersonal, and presentation skills used to communicate effectively with people at varying levels of computer literacy.
  • Detail oriented with evidence of creativity, attention to detail, and collaborative approaches to work.
  • Graphic design and audio/video editing experience is a plus.
  • Knowledge of adult learning theory, instructional design, and/or technology-mediated learning.
  • Interest and willingness to explore new tools and uses of technology to support learning
  • Personal Traits – Ability to be creative, flexible and innovative in course design. Ability to manage multiple projects at once and meets deadlines. Strong attention to detail.

To receive full consideration for this position, candidates are asked to submit a Resume/CV and cover letter with salary requirements to:

Paula Bramante

Senior Vice President, Center for eLearning Excellence

paula.bramante@necb.edu

 

 

 

Please make sure to reference seeing these positions through the Brandeis GPS job spotlight post.

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Education is Open for Business: A Special Event Webinar

 

Education is Open for Business 

RSVP here

Thursday, December 10, 12-1pm EST, via Adobe Connect

Led by Kevin Corcoran, Executive Director of the Connecticut Distance Learning Consortium (CTDLC)

This webinar is an introduction to Open Education Resources and it’s benefits for Faculty and Staff. The webinar will show what types of resources are available, how the licensing and permissions aspect of OER works, and what efforts are being done on a local, regional and federal level. 

KCorcoran

Kevin Corcoran has been the Executive Director of the Connecticut Distance Learning Consortium (CTDLC) since 2011. He joined the CTDLC in 1999 and has been responsible for developing and growing the products and services offered to support eLearning initiatives. Kevin received his B.A. in English from the University of Connecticut and his M.B.A. with a specialization in Technology Management from Walden University.

The community can connect with Kevin via Twitter @kevincorcoran. 

 

Meet the Brandeis GPS Instructional Designers

At Brandeis GPS, we are always working to improve our online courses to be more interactive and collaborative. Meet two of the reasons we are able to constantly improve. Carol Damm & Jennifer Livengood, our instructional design team!

jennifer-livengood

Instructional Designer, Jennifer Livengood

carol-damm

Instructional Designer, Carol Damm

How long have you each been in the instructional design field?

Carol Damm: Before GPS, I was with a  company that developed e-learning for about three years.

Jennifer Livengood: Four years as a full time job, but professionally ten years.

What is your favorite part of your instructional design work?

CD:  It’s hard to narrow it down! I like problem solving.  Instructional design is like being given a blank slate, and for me what’s fun is trying to figure out which is the best approach. So I guess it’s the process of finding out which design works best for a course.

JL: Being creative. It’s in the job title!

What are ways you can use to innovate an online course that you can’t use in an in person course?

CD: Bringing the students a one -on-one interactive experience with a topic.  With an online courses you can actually use tools to help develop students skills and increase collaboration.

JL: You can build things that are individually interactive, so the student gets individual attention. An online classroom is  a place for students to explore through a discussion board. Quiet students can communicate more in a discussion board where they may have been been shy in person. It truly brings out personalities.

JLQuote

Can you tell me about a great experience you’ve had designing GPS courses?

CD: What I like about it the most are the instructors and working with them. I feel like I am a perpetual student because, for many of the courses, I have no experience in most of the instructors’ fields of expertise. I love connecting with them and advising them on how to engage students with the topics and materials in their courses.InstructionalDesign

JL: Working on the professional communications course with Jennifer Drewry. We both brought our own ideas and between the two of us we were able to revise her course and make it more fun and interactive.

Can you tell me an example of a specific improvement you have made to a course and any feedback you’ve received as a result?

CD:  Lately, I’ve made recommendations on how  an instructor can take their topic and create effective discussion questions that will allow students to bring their own experience and knowledge to the discussion. You want the students to bring their ideas into this more social realm and to be as collaborative as possible not only with instructors but with other students.

JL: At a previous job I made the improvement of having the instructors come in and do a video. They weren’t previously in the course. Having the students come in and see their [professor’s] face, hear their voice. The student feedback said they liked it!

CDQuote

What is the most creative thing you have ever done for a course?

CD: Working on developing a presentation, a micro-lesson, that will teach some rudimentary SQL (Structured Query Language) coding. What I want to do is make it interactive so that students will have to put in the right code to get to the next lesson. It’s creative and students really respond well to the interactive lessons. In the past I’ve done some videography work as well as editing. I love that, it’s lots of fun, very creative. The two contribute to a lesson and make it more interesting.

JL: Working with two instructors in the language department and creating interactive games for their courses. Really pushing the limit on some of the software. It was unique and fun for the students. Unlike taking a normal multiple choice quiz where it’s a little boring.

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