Tips from an Instructional Designer

By Jessamyn Lau

As you know we’re piloting a new class at BYU, one that we hope at some point soon we will adapt and deliver online for anyone to take. As part of this process we solicited the assistance of an instructional design professional. She had great tips and considerations for teaching from a distance and developing online content. We figured we’d share a few of them, for anyone else who might find them useful:

- Avoid delivering information via more than two sources at any time. Try to minimise diluting the attention focus of your viewers by only having two methods of information delivery at once, eg voiceover + whiteboarding (other sources of info would be slides, video of the speaker, photos, etc..). - Always start by showing the person speaking, even if it is only a picture, before cutting to other visuals that they may be talking over. Having a mental picture of the person speaking makes continued engagement with the information easier to maintain. - Don’t feel like you have to create a whole new discussion community for students to contribute to, solely focused on the class. A great alternative, which potentially provides more value, is to encourage the students to listen in on and join existing communities already focused on class topics. This way their learning and participation is more likely to continue beyond the limitations and duration of the class. - Encourage students to solve each other’s queries, before coming to the instructor or teaching assistant. Better for the learning process, and better for time management for larger classes. This can be done through an online forum or wiki. - Create 1 minute videos with screen-share recordings to demonstrate how to navigate the syllabus, find resources, use any tech platforms necessary. Break everything down. Model everything.

We’re still incorporating a lot of the advice we got yesterday. Hopefully some of it is useful for others out there.