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My ID: Six Months As an Instructional Designer

petraIntroduction and First Impressions

It’s been six weeks since I started my 6-month Faculty Fellowship with the Instructional Design (ID) group in Educational Technologies here at Dartmouth. Last February I resigned from my tenured faculty position in mathematics at Wesleyan University and joined the Thayer School of Engineering as an Instructional Professor and Designer. The above-mentioned Faculty Fellowship is an innovative joint effort between Thayer School and Dartmouth Academic Computing to foster new collaborations across various disciplines and boundaries.

In this blog I will share my impressions, ideas and newly gained perspectives.


I should probably start by telling you a bit about my background. During my 20+ years of teaching, from introductory through the advanced graduate level, I continuously strove to get my students actively engaged with the material, with each other, and with me as a teacher. I enjoyed incorporating various strategies into my teaching to accomplish student engagement. As I watched my own children progress through their schooling (my son is now a senior, my daughter a freshman in high school) I became more and more interested in effective teaching and the science behind it. As a result I started experimenting with a variety of novel pedagogical techniques such as peer instruction, blended learning, flipped classrooms, online teaching and MOOCs.

Building on my own teaching experience I am now thrilled to be able to extend my expertise, as well as add some formal background to my experiential knowledge, via working with the ID team and the Education Technology group. Additionally, my immersive experience with the ID group will allow me to contribute collaboratively to the group by providing insights and enlightening context into the faculty perspective on various aspects of teaching and learning.

Now that you know a bit about my background (I will continue to fill this in during future posts) I will finish this post with some first impressions.

First off, September 1st as a starting date for my faculty fellowship was an `interesting’ choice of date. While as a faculty member crunch time for me typically happens during the first week of classes, for an Instructional Designer it is the weeks leading up to the beginning of classes that present one of the busiest times of the year. This meant that there was not a whole lot of time for me to pick up tips and tricks by meeting and talking with the other IDs; rather, the designers are incredibly busy helping faculty getting their courses and Canvas pages ready for the start of the term, running new faculty orientations and advising faculty on effective instructional strategies. One of the fortunate side effects was that I got to meet a number of fascinating and fun faculty members! On the other hand, I also observed some stress and anxiety from busy faculty members... I will write more at a later date concerning some ideas on how to improve the climate and effectiveness between faculty and Instructional Designers.

Check back in our next newsletter where I’ll keep you updated on my latest adventures!

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