Apply Instructional Design Principles

  • Identifies and analyzes learning and performance problems
  • Design, plans, and develops instructional interventions using appropriate strategies and techniques
  • Develops an evaluation plan for a project based on stated goals and recognized standards



In May of 2012, the City University of New York upgraded from Blackboard 8.0 to Blackboard 9.1, their first Blackboard upgrade in nearly 4 years.  Blackboard 9.1 introduced significant changes in the user interface, along with several new features, creating a need for training across many segments of the university.  However, faculty and staff training at the City University of New York (CUNY) is a multifaceted challenge.  Blackboard workshops are chronically under attended at CUNY, resulting in a faculty that is largely unfamiliar with the established best practices and skills for teaching online.  Additionally, CUNY employs a largely adjunct faculty, who are often not available to attend training sessions at the commonly offered times and in some cases, teach distance education courses and do not live locally.  Lastly, departmental administrative staff increasingly use Blackboard for advising and other non-academic uses, but need just-in-time training that they can complete from their offices.

To address these challenges I designed a Blackboard 9.1 Electronic Workshop for my EDCI 56900 project that could be used in its entirety or by an instructor wanting information on just one or two features.  The Electronic Workshop featured self-contained modules on the basic skills necessary to build a Blackboard course, such adding content, adding Assignments, creating Discussion Boards, and so on.  I embedded in each module step-by-step instructions and vendor-produced video tutorials (where available) for the technique being covered, a technique-specific Discussion Board so that participants could interact with each other and in doing so, establish a community of practice, and an Assignment to be completed in a personalized development course so that the participant could be assessed on the technique.  By delivering the training within the Blackboard LMS, learning is contextual and authentic.  In order to encourage faculty participation and to provide a means of evaluating performance, the workshop would offer faculty the opportunity to earn a certificate of completion that could be used in their personnel files, as academic departments are increasingly making training mandatory for their instructors.

Prior to creating the Blackboard 9.1 Electronic Workshop, I had not developed training that would be delivered completely online or would include assessment items to be used with faculty, much less could be used for professional advancement decisions.  In completing the project, I learned that the basics of designing instruction for in-person and online delivery in many ways are the same.  I gained an appreciation for the similarities, namely, you have to consider the needs of your learners, design activities that bridge instructional content and desired outcomes, and how the setting can be used to the best advantage.  There are some universal principals that apply regardless of setting. Based on my experience, I look forward to creating completely online equivalents for the training I currently deliver.

Meeting the Competency

The Learning Objectives Assignment: Blackboard 9.1 Electronic Workshop artifact included above identifies and analyzes learning and performance problems.  The artifact discusses the specific needs of the target population in the context of a software upgrade, and explores how those needs can be best met through instruction.

The Paper Prototype Project: Blackboard 9.1 Electronic Workshop details the instructional interventions designed to meet the instructional needs identified in the first artifact.  Learners are presented with a variety of self-paced instructional activities that reflect the skills they will need post-training.  The use of Blackboard to host Blackboard training creates an authentic and realistic learning environment, and is also an appropriate strategy and technique, given the need to accommodate a target audience that may be unable to attend traditional in-person workshop.

Lastly, the Paper Prototype Project: Blackboard 9.1 Electronic Workshop and Final Report and Digital Prototype Assignment artifacts include an evaluation plan for participant learning based on stated goals and recognized standards.  Each workshop module contains an assignment that matches the instructional content and can be rated according to a rubric developed for the workshop.  At the successful completion of the Assignments, participants may be awarded a certificate of completion for the workshop.

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