My approach to instructional design is an extension of my philosophy for teaching, which foregrounds student contributions, carefully curates learning experiences that encourage active learning and critical thinking, and provides periodic opportunities for students to reflect and document their own learning to develop meta-cognitive awareness. Below are two examples that demonstrate different approaches I’ve utilized toward creating online learning environments that are well-integrated into a blended classroom.
Entry-level Composition Course
For early-career students who may not always be familiar with styles of teaching and evaluation in higher education, I focus course design on making learning activities accessible to a range of learners. The course was divided among several units (Unit 3 shown here), and activities follow a clear progression that scaffold the student learning process through a complicated task such as writing a documented essay based on secondary research. In concert with in-person activities, students were asked to identify a topic and audience, go through the process of collecting sources, and then begin to evaluate and synthesize other scholars through a sequence of homework assignments. Each activity builds on those that come before, encouraging students to make connections between their intended audience and their own evolving thinking about their research process. Students were also provided with supplementary materials that model sound research practices and contextualize writing and research as a social act.
Advanced Undergraduate Seminar
In a seminar with advanced undergraduates completing an internship to become writing tutors at the University of Massachusetts Writing Center, I designed a WordPress site in lieu of a traditional LMS. The site was designed to focus on student contributions in weekly blog posts as they engaged with a rigorous collection of scholarship in Writing Center Studies. The site utilized categories, tags, and a dynamic word cloud that was updated as the class progressed through the academic term. In addition to weekly blog posts where students synthesized reflections on their internship experience with published scholarship, students also worked in teams as they researched and designed pilot studies conducted in our writing center. The WordPress site facilitated the independent work of students as they reflected on theory and practice, as well as functioned as a venue to share their reflections and works in progress to an audience of their peers.