This course, IT595, qualifies as an IT Masters elective and also fulfills a slot in the Qual Research Certificate. It is one of the few masters courses that does so. It does not however fulfill credits toward the Graduate Certification in Online Teaching and Learning. Use the jump links below to move within this web page and access IT595 course materials.
- Policy on written assignments
- Readings (However, most readings in the course are open source so see the syllabus for links)
- Course Slides
FAQ: Frequently asked questions
What is this course about?
This course is a hands-on introduction to one way that practicing designers build their professional knowledge. Via design cases, practicing designers share close reflections of process and product with each other. In instructional design (ID), we don’t do this enough. In ID, instructional design cases are one of the few ways a designer can acquire knowledge without doing a design on his/her own. At the same time, as design professionals, we can’t depend only on our own experiences if we expect to create eclectic and resourceful designs. If our only knowledge of instructional designs are ones we created, or ones we experienced in a course of learning, our design repertoire is limited. This course expands a designer’s repertoire through reading design cases, and also instructs learners on how to create instructional design cases themselves so that they might enter the professional community of instructional designers.
What is the difference between this course and the others?
This is an elective course, and actually a qualitative research methods course. Design cases are qualitative interrogations of designs, but not necessarily people’s behavior. You should not need IRB approval for this course. However, I may ask you to apply for it if your study of a design digs deeps into the user experience which requires you to interview designers.
How often is IT595 offered?
This course is planned to be offered every other summer, starting in 2018.
What will I do in this course?
You will learn the method of knowledge building in instructional design called the instructional design case, how it is conducted, and what determines its rigor. At the same time, you will write a design case, and comment on the cases of your peers. You will also discuss seminal cases with your colleagues. Note that this course is not about case studies, which is a different kind of qualitative research that focuses primarily on individuals or unique contexts.
Does this course require programming skills or other computer skills?
Not really. If you are not familiar with the editorial functions in MS Word, such as commenting, keeping tracked changes, and sharing files with others, these are skills you may want to develop on your own. If you are not familiar with cloud computing, there are tutorials for that too. UT offers Lydia courses for free. These are wonderful resources for students. If you find Lydia too detailed, places such as Common Craft offer simple overview, such as this excellent one explaining cloud computing. Additionally, I have added some readings directly from the UT library which will require a UT net ID. If you do not have one, let me know.
Am I required to buy a text book?
Instructional Technology 595: Practitioner research, the instructional design case.
- Course Section: 001 & 002
- Meeting Place and Time: Online in Zoom, Wednesdays 5:00PM- 7:20PM *except final class which is on Tuesday July 3 (Get UT ZOOM, Login to Craig’s ZOOM here.)
- Course Credit Hours: 3
- The name of the learning management system (LMS) is Canvas. It is used for asynchronous forums, and assignment submissions, but not for person to person messaging. Email for direct messaging.
- This course uses supplemental texts that are available via the password protected Readings folder, or directly linked via the syllabus.
- Class recordings are available via the recordings folder.
- This syllabus was last updated June 10th, 2018
Faculty Contact Information:
- Craig D. Howard, Ph.D., Assistant Professor
- Department of Educational Psychology & Counseling (EPC)
- 517 Bailey Education Complex; (865) 974-8642; firstname.lastname@example.org
- Do not mail the instructor via Canvas internal messaging. Your message will never reach me.
- Virtual office: Zoom (ID: 648 060 7829; the “secret” six digit key: 325154 allows your group to record in my room)
- Der Eintrittswort für Alle die geheimes Mappen ist 寿司.
- Katie L. Bevins, (MA in French Language & Literature, ABD in LEEDS)
- Department of Modern Foreign Languages & Literature
- Office: 26d Alumni Memorial Building
- Email: email@example.com
Office hours and communications: All office hour for this course are by appointment and online, but I do enjoy meeting my students- so please don’t be afraid to meet on campus if we’re both here. 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 http://remedy.utk.edu/contact/ or call the helpdesk at 865-974-9900.
I check email once a day, but not on weekends. I respond 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 be digital, and available on this website, or the university appointed LMS. All submissions will process through the LMS only. When submitting revisions, remember tracked changes must be visible and to add R1 to the end of your file name after my initials if it is a re-submission.
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. If your email is confidential, you would like your identity withheld, or 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.
This course guides the learners through two parallel streams of learning: learning about a form of practitioner research and what makes it good, and a second stream, learning to compile such research oneself. This type of practitioner research is called the instructional design case.
This course qualifies as a qualitative research course, as well as a course towards the MS in Instructional Technology, in the IT Online program. It is not part of the graduate certificate in online teaching and learning.
Learners will write a design case in this course. Prior to the course, please reflect on learning experiences you have experienced, created, or are close to. You will be asked to craft a detailed description of their process of creation and their final form.
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 must share their work with classmates in order to complete assignments. If you plan to use your work in a portfolio, remember to collect a contribution statement and credit the input of your peers. These statements do not need to be long, but they do need to offer to include the peers’ name on the work they contributed to. Contribution statements are a required component of this program for all final projects to be used in the graduation portfolio in IT Online, which is the University of Tennessee MS in Instructional Technology.
The knowledge you gain from taking this course will provide you with the ability to contribute to the field of instructional design, and support a heightened sensitivity to how designers learn. This knowledge may lead to insights for you as a designer as well.
- Identify, and share, an instructional design that contains unique precedent which they believe has value for other designers
- Analyze and discuss scholarly literature focused on this method of knowledge building
- Engage in reflection and teamwork practices integral to being a successful designer and instructor; and
- Create professional communications through an oral presentation and via a written design case.
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. It is expected that your video camera will be turned on and your face be visible during class sessions. I expect learners will check email and course communications daily, as I do.
Programmatic Outcomes / Department Goals:
This course fulfills the following alignments to standards:
- NETS.C2 Teaching, Learning, & Assessment: Technology coaches assist teachers in using technology effectively for assessing student learning, differentiating instruction, and providing rigorous, relevant, and engaging learning experiences for all students.
- NETS.C4 Professional Development & Program Evaluation: Technology coaches conduct needs assessments, develop technology-related professional learning programs, and evaluate the impact on instructional practice to student learning.
- AECT Standards 5: Research: Candidates explore, evaluate, synthesize and apply systemic methods of inquiry to enhance learning and improve performance.
This course is delivered asynchronously via Canvas, and synchronously via ZOOM. I DO NOT USE CANVAS EMAIL. Stick to traditional email for contacting the instructor(s) as CANVAS mail can neither be turned off, nor is it delivered to my inbox. For synchronous meetings, use your UT ZOOM account login, (user guide: ZOOM) to get to my “Zoom room.” To ensure that you are available for all synchronous course activities, please make sure that you are available for the set course hours. While in class, your video is expected to be turned on during class time, and your image should be visible. Lurking is forbidden, rude, and uncomfortable for other learners. 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 be asked to withdraw from 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.
By EPC policy, driving while engaged in an online class is prohibited.
Texts/Resources/Materials: No required textbook. Supplemental readings only. Open source or available via UTK ebook.
Expectations for collaborative work:
Each member will contribute ideas, participate in writing/editing, and will take an equitable distribution of tasks by total group agreement at the start of group work and through check in periods. During the first meeting of the group will create a detailed timeline for expected work, keeping realistic expectations for others and yourself. Prior to the submission deadline, have a final check-in meeting and a “last call” for any revisions/help needs. Each member is responsible to inform the group of unforeseen circumstances that will alter the timeline of expected work.
It is expected that members will attend all group meetings and if they are unable to complete work on time the team will determine a plan to make-up their work within a pre-determined time frame based the project length. Everyone will respect other members, their opinions, work personalities, and their time. Each member will enter into the project understanding that it will be a collaborative project and no one vision may be realized. As work is assigned, each member should advocate for themselves what they do best in order to fulfill the team vision.
Members are expected to respond to all correspondence within an established timeframe for both business hours. The communication will occur through determined means of communication (email, google docs, phone, etc.…). Group texts, messages, and other means must be regulated by the expectations of the group.
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 the 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.
- If you find that you need assistance with your writing, please visit the university’s free Writing Center housed in the English department: http://web.utk.edu/~english/writing/writing.shtml. 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.
- 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 in-completes 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.
- 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
Activities & Assignments due today
|Course launch: Synchronous session on Wed 5pm- 7:30pm||Pre-course reading:
Howard, C.D., Boling, E., Rowland, G., Smith, K.M. (2012) Instructional design cases and why we need them. Educational Technology 52 (3) 34-38.
How is design knowledge different from any other knowledge?
What is a design case?
|Asynchronous discussion||Boling, E. (2010). The need for design cases: Disseminating design knowledge. International Journal of Designs for Learning, 1(1).
Smith, K. M. (2010). Producing the rigorous design case. International Journal of Designs for Learning, 1(1).
Read/listen to the design case, The chillout song by ZeFrank
|Synchronous session||Listen to The Nutshell Studies of Unexplained Death by 99% Invisible (start at 3:08 minute mark to skip the ads) 27 min. Or the same by Sidedoor. Both address the same topic and are about the same length, 25 min.
Howard, C. D., & Gray, C. M. (2014). Introduction to the Special Issue on Historic Design Cases. International Journal of Designs for Learning, 5(2).
Stochastic Learning Objectives blogpost
|Planned ambiguity and how we discuss highly complex instructional designs
Stochastic learning (Designing for complex learning to likely occur when direct instruction will never work.)
Rigor in instructional design cases
A great time to start your portfolio update discussion post
Select and read two historic design cases from this table of contents here
Read the blog post about an interview protocol instructional design cases
|Craig’s blog post Forbidden words in Instructional Design.
Craig’s blog post on Design Tensions
|The structure of a design case, crating graphics, and using animations to tell the story.
The nature of design knowledge
The language of design
The visual language of designs
|Asynchronous discussion||Howard, C. D. (2014). The rhetoric of instructional design cases: Knowledge building via examples of process and product. In Design in educational technology (pp. 107-124). Springer.
|Chose one of two design cases:
Howard, C.D. & Das, A. (2018-preprint) Designing Competitive Discussions for Equity and Inclusion.
Howard, C. D., Staples, C., Dubreil, S., & Yamagata-Lynch, L. C. (2016). The App Farm: Engaging Design Process as a Means for French Learning. International Journal of Designs for Learning, 7(3).
Required for all:
Nelson & Stolterman (2012) The Design Way (chapters 11 &12), Evil and Splendor of Design. The design way is an interesting book: Whole ebook; just the chapters are in the readings folder, but browse for fun.
|Stumbling blocks in ID cases: Confounding results
Design failures: Unforeseen obstacles and consequences
|4||Sun 7/1||Asynchronous discussion||
Mulcahy, R. S. (2011). Bottom line: Defining success in the creation of a business simulation. International Journal of Designs for Learning, 2(1).
Fifth and last synchronous session on 7/3
|No readings. Prep time devoted to revision.||
Assignments: The assignments folder contains long form directions for all the assignments, but they are to submitted or completed via the university LMS. click on slides if you are looking for course slides.
Read the task sheet for each of the activities prior to doing them. The final assignment will be graded individually, but developed collaboratively. Therefore, it is absolutely essential that you be respectful to your classmates as your grade will suffer dramatically if you attempt to complete the course in isolation. Notice that there is not enough time in the compressed semester to do the kind of extensive collaborative revisions that I do during the regular semester. You will need collaborators to keep up. Read this to help you understand why I ask the kinds of questions I do when we plan to publish together. All learners should endeavor to publish the work done in this course because that is an essential component of graduate study.
For due dates of major assignments, please see the detailed schedule.
Grading Schema Breakdown and Total Possible Points
I have added links here to support files or supporting websites, not to the dropbox where the submission must be handed in. All dropboxes are in the university LMS. Make sure to log in with your net ID, or I won’t get your submission. If you would like to see the whole folder at once, use this cloud storage folder link.
- Anti-plagiarism certificate: 5
- Imagetext activity: 5
- Asynchronous discussion #1: 5
- Asynchronous discussion #2: 5
- Asynchronous discussion #3: 5
- Asynchronous discussion #4: 5
- Portfolio update: 5
- Peer review of another’s design case: 15
- Original design case: 35
- Performance reflection: 5
- Final presentation of your design case: 10
- Total: 100
Grades are updated regularly in the LMS. Final grades will be given according to the UT grading scale:
A=90-100%;B+=85-89%;B=80-84%;C+=75-79%;C=70-74%;D=60-69%F=59% and below.
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, craigdennishoward.com, 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 Lydia.com 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
- Describing 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;native Americans sent messages to their friends to. Telling me that one can use the device to send messages tells me nothing.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Citations’ purpose in research is often misunderstood. Citations are rhetorical devices. 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.