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Home » Course Materials » IT594: Pro-seminar II, Trends and Careers in Instructional Technology

IT594: Pro-seminar II, Trends and Careers in Instructional Technology

This course, IT594: Trends and Careers in Instructional Technology, qualifies as a core IT Masters in Science course, but does not count toward the Graduate Certification in Online Teaching and Learning. Use the jump links below to move within this web page and access IT521 course materials. Some students have found the similarity among my course pages to be confusing, so I am now using themed colors for different courses. The theme color for IT594 is orange, as if you need to see more orange.

required UT logo


What are Careers in Instructional Technology?

IT is actually not a career; it’s a field of inquiry related to many different careers. If you are contemplating taking this course, you should have a more nuanced understanding of this concept and be seeing an identity for yourself within one of the three areas that Instructional Technology serves: workplace performance improvement, K12 technology integration or use, and  the design of instructional interventions in settings such as higher ed, the military, compliance learning, elearning and other settings.

What is the difference between this course and the others?

This course has, at its heart, the redesign of your portfolio from IT521. You should expect to completely re-do your portfolio. A tactic prone to failure has been to simply try and amend your portfolio to the new demands. Having said that, the portfolio is only one component of market readiness. This course is professionally oriented, and in so, support the building of expertise and collaborative knowledge. This is not a general education course. Students who do not intent on working in Instructional Technology should not be enrolling int his course. It does not quality for the graduate certificate in online teaching and learning because it is specifically designed to cater to the field of IT, and is not for those who want survey knowledge.It is however possible to pass the course and fail the portfolio and vice versa.

How often is IT594 offered?

This course is offered every spring. Plan accordingly. Please keep in mind that the call number may change as the program it serves may change majors within the departmental restructuring. The IT program itself will not change; nor will the role of this course.

What will I do in this course?

  1. Identify the means of, and begin pursuing, entrance into the professional community of Instructional Technology;
  2. Identify emerging instructional technologies;
  3. Explore and identify career paths within the fields of Instructional and Educational Technology;
  4. Design a digital professional portfolio;
  5. Explore and develop a professional identity within the field via an advanced presentation that dives deep into a current topic in instructional design

Does this course require programming skills or other computer skills?

The following skills are required:  saving word docs to sharable locations (cloud computing), using tracked changes, using commenting in MS Word docs, and organizing your files via a hierarchical nomenclature. (You will need to develop this early on as websites can sometimes accumulate hundreds of files.)

All of these skills can be learned via learning tools supplied to you by your mandatory technology fee through the office of information technology (OIT). If you are not familiar with the editorial functions in MS Word, such as commenting, keeping tracked changes, and comparing document versions, UT offers Lydia courses for free that teach those skills. There is also UT tech support that helps in a pinch: (865) 974-9900 or click here for asynchronous OIT help. These are wonderful resources for students. If you find Lydia too detailed, places such as Common Craft offer simple overviews, such as this excellent one explaining cloud computing.

Am I required to buy the text book?

No. There is no textbook for this course because the content of the course is not static, and it is professionally oriented rather than academically oriented.



Instructional Technology 594: Instructional Technology as a profession II (aka Trends and Careers in IT)

  • Course Section:  001 & 002
  • Meeting Time and Place: Thursdays 5:05PM- 7:45PM (In ZOOM unless otherwise noted; Craig’s ZOOM room here)
  • Course Credit Hours: 3
  • The name of the learning management system (LMS) is Canvas
  • All materials are supplemental texts and either linked online form the syllabus or available via the password protected Readings folder linked below.
  • This syllabus was last updated on the 10th of January, 2018 (Changes will happen prior to course start 1/11/2018.)

Faculty Contact Information:

  • Craig D. Howard, Ph.D., Assistant Professor
  • Department of Educational Psychology & Counseling (EPC)
  • 517 Bailey Education Complex; (865) 974-8642;
  • Do not use Canvas internal messaging as a means to contact me. I will not get your communication.
  • Virtual office: Zoom (ID: 648 060 7829) and the “secret” six digit key: 325154 (this allows your group to record in my room)
  • Der Eintrittswort fuer die geheimes Mappe ist 寿司.

Office hours and communications: Wednesdays 12:00-3:00 online, but I do enjoy meeting my students face to face. I am on campus several Wednesdays this semester for faculty meetings. For technical issues or help troubleshooting Canvas or any other UT software such as Zoom, or downloaded software such as MS Word, please contact OIT at or call the helpdesk at 865-974-9900.

I check email once a day, but not on weekends. I do not check LMS (Canvas) internal messaging, ever. LMS messaging is notoriously laborious, ineffective, and unreliable. I do not regularly check my office voicemail messaging either because in three years because it seems that technology has simply gone out of fashion. I respond to emails as soon as possible, usually within 24 hours. Note that I do not require documents be printed, ever. Please do not ask for handouts, slides, or printed texts. All papers, presentations, class handouts and other materials will always be digital, and available on this website, or the university appointed LMS. All assignment submissions will process through the LMS only.

Revision is a staple part of graduate writing and employed in this course. When submitting revisions, remember tracked changes must be visible and please add “R1″ to the end of your file name after my initials when resubmitting a revised document. Please read my policy on long form written work prior to asking questions about revisions. In teaching academic writing for over 20 years, I find this strategy is by far the most effective.

I am happy to arrange virtual meetings via ZOOM, Skype, or by telephone on an individual basis, if that would be helpful. In online courses, I find learners pose questions via private messages that are actually quite common, and the answers to which would be helpful for all to hear. In a face to face course, my answers would be broadcast to all, so I often broadcast my responses to such questions via media to save time and support your learning. If your email is confidential, or you would like your identity withheld, or prefer not to be associated with the content of the response, please clearly indicate this in the body of your original mail. Otherwise, I may answer to everyone.

Course Description/Information:

This course is designed for both Master’s and Doctoral students interested in instructional technology as a profession. Participants will reflect on issues related to the job hunt, the performance parameters of entry level instructional designers, and career advancement. The course covers the design, delivery, and development of professional documents, including resumes, CVs, portfolio websites and professional statements. Participants will be introduced to collaboration tactics common in instructional design settings and develop a professional portfolio using these techniques. Master’s students will begin designing their portfolio for the program and doctoral students will begin exploring a topic of interest in the field and conduct a literature review based on seminal and current works.

Unique requirements:

This course requires an internet-connected computer and a headphone/mic set so that you can participate in class: a high-speed Internet connection, webcam, headset, microphone, and backup storage device are assumed. I strongly encourage you to develop a facility with cloud storage if you do not yet use this type of system.

Learners will be required to take part in a group paper which results in professional presentation on a current topic in IT, and a final graduation portfolio that follows the requirements and revisions set forth by the program faculty. Contribution statements are a required component of this program for all final projects to be used in your graduation portfolio.

Value Proposition:

This course will expose you to essential areas of discussion in online learning scholarship today. Your learning in this course will prepare you assume a professional position in a firm or institution engaged in instructional design, instructional technology, or educational technology. This is essential knowledge for professional practice in Instructional Technology, Instructional Design, and Educational Technology that deals with any type of at-a-distance configuration.

Learning Objectives:

Learners will:

  • Identify and develop participation strategies for becoming members of online communities of practice in instructional design.
  • Develop and document a professional identity within the field (masters and doctorate);
  • Explore and identify practices that advance professional in the field of IT (masters and doctorate);
  • Evaluate the current discussion surrounding a theme or buzzword in instructional technology and how one might explain this to a committee or institution.  (masters and doctorate);
  • Re-design an electronic professional portfolio (masters only), and
  • Explore and develop a research agenda within the field (doctorate only).

Students are responsible for logging into class prepared and staying on task during the meeting sessions. Please turn cell phone ringers and vibrating controls off, and do not web surf or check email during class. I expect learners will check email and course communications daily, as I do. Driving while attending class is strictly forbidden.

Programmatic Outcomes / Department Goals:

This course fulfills the following alignments to standards:

  • AECT Standard 2: Content Pedagogy. Candidates are encouraged to grow as practitioners within a supportive community of practice that enables them to demonstrate effective implementation of educational technologies based on content pedagogy.
  • AECT Standard 4: Professional Knowledge and Skills. Candidates will be able to design, develop and evaluate technology-rich learning environments.
  • AECT Standards 5: Research: Candidates explore, evaluate, synthesize and apply systemic methods of inquiry to enhance learning and improve performance.
  • ISTE NETS-C 6: Visionary Leadership: coaches inspire and participate in the development and implementation of a shared vision for comprehensive integration of technology to promote excellence and support transformational change throughout an instructional environment.

Learning Environment:

For synchronous meetings,we use UT ZOOM. Create your UT Zoom account login here, and log into this course here (user guide: ZOOM). To ensure that you are available for all synchronous course activities please make sure that you are available for the set course hours. For asynchronous interactive components, this course is delivered primarily through Canvas. Notice that Canvas internal email is not used as Canvas times out, email is not preserved, and attachments are difficult. It is a poor choice for direct messaging so please use email for those interactions.

Additionally, please make sure that you have access to an audio headset (with a microphone) for optimum participation in the synchronous sessions. If you choose to engage in activities that are unprofessional, disrespectful to others, or disruptive you will lose points toward course participation, or may be asked to to attend the remainder of the course.

Plan to be present in online synchronous sessions. I define presence in an online class environment as listening to others as well as participating where appropriate and not driving, traveling, supervising others, or multi-tasking. Please plan accordingly as these non-presence activities not only detract from your learning, but also from the sense of community we build in online synchronous sessions. If your camera is turned off for an extended amount of time, and I call on you, a lack of a response will be counted as an absence for the entire class.

Please do not log into synchronous classes via a mobile device (tablet, cell phone, or Apple brand equivalents of these) as this will limit your ability to interact and participate. Also, by EPC policy, driving while engaged in an online class is prohibited.


  • Readings as assigned, via dropbox readings, or linked via the syllabus
  • American Psychological Association (2010). Publication manual of the American Psychological Association.** I actually use OWL instead. It’s free.

Grading Schema:

Major Assignments and point values (for directions, folder is here; for due dates, please see the detailed schedule)

  1. Portfolio review discussion(5 points)
  2. Resume discussion (5)
  3. Job advertisement discussion (5)
  4. Professional statement (5 points)
  5. Collaboration on colleagues’ professional statements (15 + 15)
  6. Portfolio final presentation (10)
  7. Revisions letter (10)
  8. Group paper and presentation on Expertise in Inst Tech (15+5 for presentation=20)
  9. Peer and self evaluation (10)

Total Possible Points: 100

Grades are updated regularly in the LMS. Final grades will be given according to the UT grading scale:

F=59% and below

Collaboratively written policy on group work: Our Values as written on 1/10/2019

Late work:


  • Craig permits the submission of assignments up to 48 hours prior to his grade submission. However, at the 48 hour mark, no revisions or corrections are permitted on submitted work. Prior to the 48 hour window, revisions my be submitted.


  • For each other… if an assignment is late, the reviewer will report this to Dr. Howard so that it can be taken into consideration into the reviewer’s grade (quality of comments)
  • Our due date times are midnight EST

Policies for group work:

  • All students should be available via email. Peers should assume it is by their UTK email unless another email is given to them.
  • Students can give their number if they would like, but they do not have to.

When a student cannot be reached:

  • A response should expected within 48 hours on the weekends and 24 hours during the weekdays

Due dates for professional statement

  • 1/31 send our paper to our #1 person + Canvas
  • 2/7 submit feedback to who we reviewed + Howard
  • 2/14 submit draft #2 to our person
  • 2/21 submit collaboration document to who we reviewed + Howard
  • 2/28 revise and post statement to website.

We think it should be okay to send work earlier. These dates are the last possible day to submit the work.

2018 policy is below:

  • Workloads should be equitably dispersed. Late/delayed work should be avoided. IF something delays your output, that needs to be communicated to the group ASAP with honest expectations listed regarding new deadline and plans to carry out the new expectations. This should also be communicated to the instructor to prepare his expectations. If delay will prevent forward movement, then initially assigned contributions may be renegotiated to maintain the progress of the group.
  • Group members should respond to each other within 24 hours, except on the weekend. Type of correspondence should be agreed on by group members, regarding method and times of communication (no messaging after x time).
  • If a group member is aware of being unable to respond for a significant amount of time, they should give their group a head’s up. However, if a group member becomes unreachable without notice (in our case 48 hours after communication, excluding weekends) then a final follow-up email should be sent before contacting the instructor.

All communications should be made in respectful tones. If a receiver is uncertain about the tone or meaning of a communication, they should ask the sender to clarify. Any feedback should be honest and constructive.


Craig’s note: Fostering successfully collaborative designers is one of the hallmarks of this program, and groups are not disbanded frivolously. However, I have disbanded groups in the past on the request of students. I will use your policies here to make a judgment call as to whether or not I feel justified in disbanding a group. Asking me to disband a group will not automatically result in me disbanding a group; furthermore, members mutually agreeing that they do not want to work together will likewise not result in the disbanding of a group. I will hear the position of each learner before I make an executive decision such as allowing group members to separate from the group and submit a collaborative task individually.

Miscellaneous items:

  • If you find that you need assistance with your writing, please visit the university’s free Writing Center housed in the English department: They do not proofread or edit your work, but they can help with idea development and organization – key elements of successful academic writing.How to Be Successful In This Course:Please be aware that EPC expects the following of students enrolled in this course:
  • Be prepared by having read assigned materials thoroughly and critically.
  • Check your UT email & LMS space regularly for announcements.
  • Do not message your instructor in hard to locate venues, such as Canvas.
  • Enthusiastically participate in group discussions.
  • We will engage in a lot of small group work, so please let me know in advance about any irregularities in your attendance &/or participation.
  • There are no excused absences or excused delays for assignment completion. As adults it is your choice whether or not to attend class and how to participate in class. My position, of course, is that you should be in every class. I am not in the position to give or withhold permission for you to miss class. I simply ask that you let me know whether or not we can expect you in class each week.
  • Late arrivals, early departures, absences &/or assignments submitted late are all likely to negatively impact your grade.
  • You are expected to complete your own work. You cannot re-submit work here that was done for previous classes unless we’ve specifically talked about that together.
  • No incompletes will be given.
  • If you plagiarize, you will receive a zero on the assignment, and I will contact your academic advisor for further consultation.
  • Be aware of any tendencies to multi-task during our sessions. I ask a lot of questions and students who multitask usually experience embarrassment.

Professional Dispositions

  • As a participant of an Instructional Technology Program course, course participants are required to review Program Participant Professional Dispositions policy and engage in continual development as a professional. See the Professional Dispositions blog post on this website, or the EPC website for details.


Schedule of topics and readings




Assignments & Readings

1 1/10 THURSDAYS 5:05-7:45

Introductions and course overview

Identify and begin defining your topic of expertise.

components of the ePortfolio


We meet synchronously


  • All activities on the first day are in-class
  • Review syllabus
  • Overview of the UT IT ePortfolio
  • Overview of an academic dossier

Orange color signifies something must be turned in by the start of class that week, unless otherwise noted

2 1/17 Incorporating multimedia assets in an ePortfolio

  • Select a web authoring tool / strategy
  • Visit web portfolios

Selecting a domain

We meet synchronously



  • Investigate potential domains for compatibility to your goals (e.g.: required responsive design)


  • Portfolio review discussion: two posts (Initial by Monday night, Response prior to class)
3 1/24  



Resume’s vs CV’s-



Promotions &


We will meet synchronously




  • (MS) Read Tips on Evaluating Instructional Designers here (if you have a better article TELL ME!)
  • (PhD) Read Karen Kelsky’s rules for CV’s here
  • (PhD) Read JR Eyler’s reflection on reading CV’s as a committee member here
  • The IT Facebook page. Signup is required, but there is no credit. “Dummy” accounts can forward to your email.


  • Resume CV discussion: 2 posts.
  • Anti-plag Certificate upload
4 1/31 Analyzing, strategizing and complete revisions in collaboration

We will meet synchronously





  • How to write a revisions letter, example here
  • Read Craig’s Strategizing group research blogpost here


  • Submit ePortfolio URL
  • Submit draft #1 of your personal  / professional statement in the university LMS
  • Send your PS to the person BELOW YOU on the roster.
5 2/7 Introducing the group paper

Organizing collaboration

Topics in Instructional Design, IT and Ed Tech

We will meet synchronously


  • Submit Collaboration document #1
6 2/14 Trouble shooting miscommunication

Troubleshooting multimedia issues

Finding dead links

Multimedia issues

We will meet synchronously


  • Read Craig’s reflection on teacher-learner mis-collaboration here
  • Read Mignon Fogerty’s How to format URLs here


  • Be prepared to discuss issues with your revisions strategy for your ePortfolio
  • Send revised professional statement to the person ABOVE you on the roster
7 2/21  


Continue to revise the ePortfolio

We will meet Synchronously


Readings: TBA

  • Submit Collaboration document #2
  • Revise and post your new professional statement on your website this week. (before 2/27 midnight because on 2/28, portfolios are released to the committee.)
 8 2/28  



Small group sessions regarding the final group paper

Decide on your final project type

We will meet Synchronously



  • Portfolio due to the committee (Your URL should already be in the LMS submissions space. Committee assessment begins 2/28)
9 3/7  

Identify roles of professional development

Maintaining a professional network

How to handle the video interview

Asking for letter of reference

We will meet Synchronously


  • Review Professional Organizations’ Websites, choose 2 and add 1: AECT/AERA/ISTE/Chronicle of Higher Ed/Sloan Consortium + 1 which you select on your own
  • For PhD’s only: Karen Kelsky’s the campus visit


  • Job Ads discussion board
  • Be prepared to describe the websites you visited, or the job boards you analyzed





Guest Lecture: ROSE BENEDICKS, Strategic Lead, LeoLearn Inc. We will meet synchronously.

Read Benedicks (2018) Assessment 2.0. Published by LeoLearning linked here.

(If this link expires, a pdf is in your readings folder.)

11 3/21 We will NOT meet synchronously: SPRING BREAK

Readings: You should have your portfolio Feedback by 3/24 (Friday)
12 3/28  



Developing a strategy for revision (different for each student based on requested revisions)

We will meet synchronously




  • Optional tips for web writing here
  • Gregory on writing for the web (in readings)


  • Revising the ePortfolio individual discussions
  • Finalized professional statement (same assignments location as original, just the new draft.)
  • Submit revisions letter in LMS
13 4/4 Dealing with revisions


We will meet synchronously


  • Website walk-through sharing revision strategy
  • Completed Portfolio Revisions due to Committee by 4/6
  • Submit notification of portfolio revision completion LMS by 4/6



Working session: Sessions by appointment

Small group sessions with Craig on the final paper  // project

 15  4/18 IT Expertise Presentation

We will meet synchronously


  • Presentations of expertise in IT
  • Presentations of design plans
 16  4/25 This day is reserved as a make up day /  or used for overflow for presentation time. We will meet Synchronously (if necessary). This is the last possible meeting session. (Exams being 4/28)


  • Submit Expertise paper doc in LMS
  • Submit peer and self-evaluation


Important dates- all are relative to weeks, not days.

  • Portfolio due to Committee the week of 3/4: Craig will pull your URL from Canvas. This year all committees are Craig H. Jennifer Morrow, and Lisa YL.
  • Spring Break during the weeks of 3/11 to 3/19
  • Committee send feedback to students by approximately the week of 3/25
  • Faculty need to send comments to Craig, the Portfolio Coordinator by 3/23. (Last year’s deadline. So far, none provided for this year)
  • Portfolio Revisions due to Committee by the week of 4/8.
  • Report Pass/Fail of exit portfolio to the Graduate School by the week of 4/21.


Detailed directions are available for every assignment in this course. Sometimes the point values change slightly as new content comes in and outdated content is removed. Link to the assignments folder is here.

There are six tasks in this course. They are listed below. Submissions are via MS word doc via the university LMS. (Sorry, I cannot accept pdfs at this time.)

  1. Anti-plagiarism task (save and upload your certificate into the Canvas Dropbox) 

Policy on written work

Overview of why I grade the way I do, via comments and tracked changes

Not all instructors will offer a guide on how they deal with written work. I am addressing this because I have found it useful in the past to add some rationale to why I grade written work the way I do. Graduate students generally work with multiple professors for a reason; each has their own approach to writing and scholarship, and those multiple perspectives help learners see different aspects of the process from different angles, providing a more nuanced understanding of the task and the content of learning itself. I encourage you to read this rationale statement prior to handing in written work in one of my courses. I also encourage you to check out my blog,, where I dive into more reasons why I teach the way I do.

My pedagogical perspective

I view written work in longer formats (over 5 pages or so) as a formative task, not a summative one. This does not mean I don’t use rubrics; I do. I see them as a means for the leaner and instructor to view the work and negotiate meanings. However, rubrics do not learners with customized instruction, which i what I believe learners usually need. Rubrics must generalize, but we must teach and learn with specific cases to make sense of what rubrics actually mean. I endeavor to grade without making summative claims about performance while still respecting learners’ autonomy as graduate students. A simple number seems very unsatisfying and frankly, I don’t think you’ll learn much from just a number. So grading via a rubric doesn’t accomplish my goals as an instructor. Here’s how go about the act of grading long form written work. This policy does not apply to CMC (emails, discussion forums, etc…).

I give lots of comments. Some applaud your work and they contain plus symbols (+), and some are meant to guide you toward better practices or notice something but are merely discursive and are not tagged. For each comment where I ask you to make a revision however, it is usually tagged with a minus symbol and I usually deduct a point at the end. That’s a point you can always get back via revision. By addressing each comment in a re-submitted paper, you evidence that you learned the point I had hoped to teach you; or alternatively, you evidence another strategy whereby my point is made mute. As long as you resubmit all your revisions as saved via tracked changes, I will check them and give full credit as the performance will display that mastery has been achieved. To make these required revisions clear, make sure your tracked changes are turned on BEFORE you revise your document. Remember, comments that contain a minus sign with a number, eg: -2 can be more egregious and cost you more points. they are however, equally as fixable as any other revision.

Comments preceded by a plus sign indicate that I was impressed with your insight or craft; but that doesn’t mean ignore them. They do not require revision, but I want you to keep doing the things that you’re good at. Comments with no marker are simply comments. Me talking to you. If I didn’t like talking to you, I would do a different kind of work.

At the end of the paper, I add up all the negative comments, subtract that number from the point value for the written work, and give the paper back to you. If you choose not to revise, the point value remains as it is. There is no partial credit on revisions. Either all of them are addressed or you get no points for any revisions. This prevents all of us from picking the easy ones and avoiding learning the important content, or squabbling over difficult revisions and easy revisions. I can’t see from my vantage point which comments are harder for whom, so I give them all the same value. We all have different skill sets, but the end goal is for every learner to reach competency. I feel that no number could ever carry with it the detail I need to express the complexities of the learning that needs to be accomplished via graduate school writing.

In some cases, an assignment’s instructions require a decision to me made. If the instructions ask for it, I require it. This is to reflect the harsh reality that in some cases one is forced to make judgements. Either a positive or negative conclusion on the subject of your investigation gains you credit, but no selection does not get you the credit for completing the task. Some learners can go deep into critiquing the entirety of the instructional design without concluding one way or the other, which is fine for non-professional discussion, but not for this context. Here, if you are asked to decide, you must decide and your decision must be clear.

Procedural tips for completing revisions

  • Read all comments on the entire paper before revising. Often, a single revision hits multiple comments.
  • Always submit your final with tracked changes. I can’t grade without them. If you don’t know how to work with tracked changes, follow one of these links about how to use tracked changes: MS Office, or com. I believe also has an extensive editing tutorial than contains instruction on using tracked changes. Lydia is paid for by your technology fee. Use it.
  • If my arithmetic is wrong, it only matters if you plan not to make revisions. Keep than in mind before you email me about a 1 or 2 point difference. If you plan to make the revision, the error in adding up your revision count is meaningless because you’re going to get all the points back anyway.

Important insights regarding written work

  1. Do not describe multimedia via proprietary terms. This is problematic for many reasons, and some writers tend to employ company names to their own peril. Do not identify media by the names of corporations. For example, a medium cannot be  “Facebook-like;” because Facebook is bound by time, or dynamic, and is the name of a company, it is not a medium. Facebook is an example of a a social network site, where user messages may be multi-model and are presented in reverse chronological order. Because corporations’ platforms are dynamic, they cannot be descriptive. Instead, describe media with more persistent words, for example: the media platform is many to many, socially oriented, file sharing, graphically interactive, etc….  Simply saying what one might do with a tool also does not offer much utility. For example, native Americans sent messages to their friends to, but smoke signals are very different from SMS texts. Telling me that one can use the device to send messages tells me nothing.
  2. Learners should use the term affordance to explain what a tool is good for. Terms like “allows, supports, etc…” are verbs than concord with design affordances, and the verb form is affords, but that still does not describe it. I offer a faceted classification scheme to describe media; i can work with you on how to best describe what it is you have. Please note that the affordance alone does not define a tool.
  3. Design failures need to be called out as such. A design failure is when a design does not meet the needs of a user, either foreseen or unforeseen. There can be design failures in assessments and measures as well. Those are usually called out via reliability issues or validity issues. Generally, design failures are followed either by a plausible solution or a statement about the design tension they create. Typical paragraph structure in papers that analyze instructional designs is to start with the design failure and go from there. Ending a paragraph with a design failure often confuses a reader, or presents the author as having given up midway through analysis. There are essentially two categories of failures: unforeseen obstacles and foreseen consequences.
  4. The caption is a necessary component of all images / artwork / audio / video. The caption does not simply label the item; rather, it explains how the item relates to the topic being discussed. In other words, the reader needs to be told what to look at in the image and why they are being shown it. There was once a publishers’ practice of putting artwork/images/graphics/multimedia in appendices. That practice is obsolete and forbidden in ths course. It is fine if your other professors ask this of you; but you shouldn’t practice this in my courses. It may be helpful to remember that other professors were trained at a different time than you are being trained.
  5. Utilized is over-utilized and misused.  Utilize means an item or procedure was used for a purpose other than that for which it was designed. Do not use this word as if it meant use. One cannot utilize an application to send a message because the message system was built precisely to send messages. One can however utilize a computer for a paperweight. Computers are generally designed for much greater purposes, so the act of re-purposing the machine is a utilization. Another example, one can utilize a hammer to pick their teeth, but one cannot utilize a hammer to pound a nail. More often than not, the learner should have simply used the term used rather than utilized. While this term is more often used incorrectly than correctly in lay print, I expect my students to aspire to be scholars and designers who write with far more accuracy.
  6. How to is simply slang for “procedural knowledge” or “procedural instruction.” When you use this term how to to refer to either or both, it presents you as someone who does not make a distinction between instruction and learning. This is dangerous for an instructional designer. An academically trained ID uses more precision, and I expect this kind of precision from my students. You don’t need academic training to design well; there are lots of great designers who have not been academically trained. Having learned ID terms gives you the precision of expression you need to interrogate, explain and communicate about designs well, which is why a trained designer is oftentimes more valuable than a self-taught one.
  7. Headers are a rhetorical device, and I often require that they be used to break up the flow of longer pieces of text. “Headers” is also a term editors use to refer to the MS word function located on the horizontal ribbon. When I say “use headers” I mean both the text separated as a sub-title, and the formatting in MS Word. I often ask my learners to use the header function in MS Word because it makes a larger written work easier to navigate. Getting used to using headers earlier rather than later in your study saves you time. It only takes one long project, such as a dissertation, where you will reap the rewards for learning header use now.
  8. Citations are rhetorical devices.  Citations’ purpose in research is often misunderstood. They can ground a statement in support, evidence a widely held misconception, or even make a joke. So citations can go many ways, both positive and negative. Therefore, I require each citation to be somewhat introduced, unless it is blatantly obvious why it is there. Please read about common mistakes to watch out for with citations in my expanded blog post.
  9. All paragraphs have topic sentences, and all papers have a thesis. While it may seem trite to rehash this lesson from English 101, you’ve got my position on it. Paragraphs with topic sentences read more easily, and a thesis means you have thought about what you are writing. These are both conventional rhetorical devices because they are effective.
  10. The thesis of a research paper, such as a dissertation, is the answer to the primary research question. The primary research questions of all design cases is the same: What was created and how was it created? So the thesis of a design case is always, this is what was created and this is how that thing came to be as it is.
  11. I encourage you to publish the research you develop in this course. This course, and all the courses I teach, follow an ethical publication policy. At the conclusion of the course, should the student publish the paper without any additional interactions with the instructor, then the name of the course, the University, and the original instructor(s) name(s) go in an acknowledgement at the end. Should the student indicate that they intend to publishing the paper and receive any additional contributions from the instructor(s), then the instructor(s) become a subsequent author. Should the student receive additional contributions, then not pursue publication, then all contributing researchers have the right to peruse publication after the agreed upon period of time had lapsed. For further elaboration about these policies and the issues that can arise without them, see Publishing as a graduate student, and New digs, old issues.




Readings link, but most readings in this course are actually online and linked from the syllabus.

Course Slides

Course slides are updated each week. If the slides are not available prior to class, it is because they are being edited. Check the university LMS for the password, or email Craig. Please be aware that these are the basic slides and updates to individual slide decks happen every week. Do not download the slides prior to the course and expect that they don’t change. IT is a professional field, and always changing.

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