As an instructional designer hired at Seattle University in 2013 my first task, along with my co-designers Erin Riesland and Jane Snare was to create the new Course Design Program for faculty. Seattle University was just beginning to develop online and hybrid courses but the university was keenly interested in preserving the experiential and reflective learning that is at the heart of the Jesuit Pedagogical Paradigm. The instrument we built to measure the successful design of an online course is based upon this paradigm.
Similar to a course I had created earlier at the University of Idaho, this new program was a six-month-long community of practice where faculty came together to identify what it was they truly wanted in this new learning environment and to experiment and support each other in the development of highly individualized courses. My outlook has always been that faculty are more engaged when they are empowered to build courses that resonate with them personally rather than handing over materials for someone else to assemble into an institutional template.
The courses that emerged and continue to emerge from what is now called the Center for Digital Learning & Innovation (CDLI) are as unique and engaging as the faculty who produce them. You can get a glimpse of some of these courses in CDLI’s Gallery of Courses. You can also see how the faculty responded to the Course Design Program in this video. Of course, it helped immensely that the faculty at Seattle University are so deeply engaged in teaching to begin with.