Starting Off on the Right Foot with Faculty

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The relationship between a faculty member and an instructional designer can be very positive or unnecessarily contentious. Faculty that are enthusiastic and see working with an ID as an opportunity to add to their understanding of online teaching and enhance student learning typically end up having very productive relationships with their ID that result in quality courses. Unfortunately, this is not always how interactions between faculty and instructional designers go. Many faculty members are protective of a subject they have been teaching for years and do not understand the necessity of working with an instructional designer. They see IDs as unnecessary and often as the enemy who is forcing them into the world of online learning. This blog does a great job of illustrating the different views faculty members have of IDs: How Faculty and Instructional Designers Can Work Together. Faculty wonder why they can’t simply transfer all of the slideshow presentations from their face-to-face class to the LMS shell and call it a day?

We’ve all sat down for an initial meeting with a faculty member and felt that they were hostile to online courses. So how do we handle this situation? As instructional designers, it is our job to demonstrate our value to faculty members without being overbearing and inundating them with jargon about learning theory that makes them feel like we think we know more than them. Most faculty do not have a background in pedagogy, but there is no need to remind them of that fact. Sitting down with a faculty member and asking them what they would really like to accomplish with their class is a great starting point. As the faculty member explains what they see as the crux of the class, they get to display their knowledge of the topic and establish themselves as the subject matter expert with experience teaching the course. The instructional designer can then show them how online resources can help them accomplish their goals and explain the learning theory behind different teaching methods, assessment, and interactions used in online courses.

When approached in the appropriate way, typically even the most resistant faculty member can see the value of online learning. As instructional designers, we need to ensure we remember that faculty are often coming from a very different background than we are and may need to be brought over to our view of the importance of online learning.

The articles below discuss the relationship between IDs and faculty and offer additional strategies on working successfully together:

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