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Working in Tandem: How Faculty and IDs Create a Quality Online Course

Submitted by on August 16, 2021 – 1:26 pmNo Comment

A man and a woman ride a tandem bicycle in the fall

Like riding a bike for the first time, it is best to bring a friend along to support you when developing an online course. The relationship between the faculty member, or Subject Matter Expert (SME), and Instructional Designer (ID) is essential to creating a quality online course. Here are a few quick tips on how to best work with an ID partner to develop quality learning experiences for your students:

Share Expectations – During initial conversations it is important that both the SME and ID share expectations with each other regarding their individual roles and responsibilities during the project. For example, questions that should be addressed during initial chats are, how often will you meet? What are the project milestones or deadlines? How do I reach you? Take the time to lay out a plan that works for both of you when it comes to expectations for the project.

Be Proactive – Whenever possible, be proactive. Instructional designers possess all sorts of knowledge about pedagogy, andragogy, learning sciences, creating dynamic learning experiences, and using technology in the online space. The SME should come to scheduled chats with questions or concerns you have about your course. Designers should come with questions for the SME about course content and the organization of information in the course. Communicate when you need to and reach out when you feel stuck.

Build Trust – SMEs, your ID is there to support you through this entire process, share your concerns, goals, and challenges with them. IDs, share relevant and supportive resources with the SME. Make the SME feel both comfortable and confident in their designing approach. Both parties should be transparent as possible and offer constructive feedback when necessary.

Share Experiences – SMEs, you are the experts in their field, the gurus if you will of your content. Share your experiences with your ID about what has worked best for you in the past when it comes to content and design. IDs, share relevant experience, whether that includes experience teaching an online course or designing a dynamic activity, tell your SME about what has worked for you

Be Open-Minded – Rome wasn’t built in a day and your online course won’t be built quickly either (sorry to disappoint you!) It takes a lot of hours, immense effort, and amazing team work for a quality online course to come together. Be open-minded to new ideas, shifts in the design, and opportunities to make the course better for learners, because at the end of the day the ultimate goal of both the SME and ID is to build a quality online course where learners thrive.

Now that you have some great tips on how to work in tandem, it’s time to get on your bike and start pedaling towards building a quality online course.

Written by Holly Owens, Senior Instructional Designer for Academic Partnerships.

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