In previous posts in our Instructional Design 101 series, we’ve talked about what an instructional designer is and isn’t. An ID is not a subject matter expert or a faculty member. An ID is an expert in learning theory who can collaborate with your school’s faculty, consulting with subject matter experts along the way, to help ensure that students walk away from a course with a specific set of knowledge and skills.

In this post, we’ll take a look at how the partnership between Cengage’s IDs and your school’s faculty works.

The ID’s role

In Part 5 of this series, we talked about what the ID usually does in the course development process:

  • Identify and/or create learning outcomes (LOs)
  • Ensure that LOs, both at the course and unit level, are clearly stated, achievable, relevant, and measurable
  • Assemble, and sometimes create, course content that fully supports these outcomes
  • Organize course content in a logical and pedagogically effective sequence so that students are more likely to comprehend the material and succeed in the course
  • Ensure that assessments are appropriate for the LOs and fully support them
  • Make sure students understand what is expected of them and that the learning path is not blocked by distracting, irrelevant, or confusing material
  • Provide instructors with a clear framework for evaluating student performance

The faculty’s role

As a faculty member, you are the expert in both the subject you’re teaching and the students who take your course. As the ID works to develop LOs, course content, and assessments, he or she will collaborate with you to make sure that your expertise is reflected in each of the course elements. You’ll talk about:

  • Your vision for the course
  • Your past experience with what has worked and what hasn’t
  • Your knowledge of what’s current in your field or career area

As the ID creates a draft of each course element, you’ll review it and offer detailed feedback that the ID will incorporate into the final version. This may be a relatively quick process involving a few comments inserted into a Word document – or it may be a little more complicated.

In one past project, for example, Cengage’s ID and the client school’s faculty expert collaborated in real time via web conferencing to hammer out the precise wording for an online animated lecture. Working together, they accomplished the difficult task of rendering highly technical language in an accessible, conversational tone meant to engage the course’s entry-level students without sacrificing essential content.

That’s the goal of any ID/faculty partnership: to combine our complementary skills to create effective, engaging courses that maximize the likelihood of student success.

Check back for additional posts in the Instructional Design 101 series, where we’ll delve deeper into topics including the ID process, how instructional design can improve a course, and how a typical ID project unfolds.

Follow us on Twitter to stay up to date on the latest news in higher education!