Why You Need Instructional Designers for Faculty-Designed Courses

Why you need instructional designers for your faculty designed courses

Faculty-designed courses are becoming more common in higher education as demands for hybrid and multi-modality courses increase. This approach has benefits, including an instructor-tailored curriculum and a lower development cost. But, it can negatively impact the course’s effectiveness, engagement, navigation, and student learning experience. Instructional design is crucial in preventing these mistakes and ensuring classes are designed for learner success. Let’s explore some common mistakes with faculty-designed courses and how instructional design can help prevent them.

Unclear Learning Objectives

One common mistake when faculty design their courses is a lack of clear learning objectives. Schools often have institution-level, program-level, class, and module outcomes that must be aligned. With clear learning objectives as a guidepost, faculty can create assessments to measure student mastery. Choosing resources, developing lectures, and creating assignments that support students in demonstrating they understand and can apply the learning objectives through the assessments.

Schools often have institution-level, program-level, course, and module outcomes that must be aligned. Clear and well-aligned learning objectives help students understand expectations, which can lead to clarity and satisfaction. Instructional designers support faculty by guiding them to create clear, measurable learning objectives aligning with the course’s goals.

Ineffective Assessment Strategies

Another common mistake with faculty-designed courses is the use of ineffective assessment strategies. Instructional design can help prevent this mistake by providing faculty guidance on effective assessment strategies that align with the course’s learning objectives. Assessments allow students to demonstrate their learning and mastery of the learning objectives. They need to fit the material, the course, the students, and the modality. Assessments that work well in person may need to be reworked for a hybrid or online course. Some assessments are effective in asynchronous environments but need to be tweaked for more active engagement in synchronous classes.

Lack of Consistency and Structure

Finally, a lack of consistency and structure can also be a common mistake when faculty design their courses. Instructional design can help prevent this by providing faculty with a framework for developing their courses that includes consistent formatting, structure, and organization. A consistent format makes it easier for students to follow the course material and retain what they’ve learned.

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Not Following Accessibility Guidelines

Creating accessible courses gives all learners opportunities to succeed.

Individual schools may have accessibility guidelines, but Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act requires all Federal electronic content to be accessible, including websites. It’s essential to remove barriers to education for all learners.

Accessible learning starts with instructional design. Section 508, WCAG 2.0, ADA compliance, and Universal Design for Learning (UDL) all provide requirements faculty and instructional designers rely on to create equitable, accessible learning experiences.

Learn more about Accessibility in Online Classrooms. 

Check your courses with an accessibility and compliance expert.

Inconsistent Learning Experience

Many schools offer faculty templates, but more is needed to ensure a consistent learning experience from class to class. Students need to know where to find the tools and information they need to succeed in their classes. With consistent navigation, students can focus on learning and completing assessments instead of trying to find things. Instructional designers can work at a program or department level to develop a consistent classroom experience for students as they matriculate.

While faculty-designed courses can be beneficial, they can also lead to mistakes that can negatively impact the course’s effectiveness. Prevent these mistakes by incorporating instructional design principles, leading to more successful courses and better student learning outcomes.

Collaborate with The Babb Group’s instructional designers and curriculum developers for expert assistance. We partner with your faculty and staff to meet your institution’s goals

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Angela Britcher

Angela Britcher is an instructional designer and content creator with The Babb Group. She is also an adjunct professor of business and communications.
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