Connecting Penn State’s instructional designers with the ID2ID Program
ID-2-ID Program brings instructional designers together for expertise sharing, collaboration
Instructional designers (IDs) across the Penn State system have access to an invaluable and unique professional development opportunity, the ID-2-ID Program.
The ID-2-ID Program gives Penn State instructional designers a platform to share expertise with one another. This allows each instructional designer in an ID-2-ID pairing to improve areas where they are less knowledgeable. The program also increases communications among instructional designers in different units and locations, cultivating professional networks for each program participant and exposing them to different ideas, unit-specific instructional designer roles, and other instructional design perspectives.
Deadline for applications for the 2015-2016 version of the ID-2-ID Program is June 12. To apply and/or learn more, interested parties can go to http://sites.psu.edu/id2id/ or email questions to Angela Dick, instructional designer with Teaching and Learning with Technology, at email@example.com.
Applicants can choose to be a mentor, mentee, or a “buddy”, depending on individual needs and/or goals. During an instructional designer’s time in the program, they can choose to be in either the mentor/mentee or buddy version of ID-2-ID. The mentor/mentee version is the classic setup where a more experienced person shares advice and experiences with a less-experienced person who wants to grow personally and professionally. The “buddy” version is where two instructional designers with similar experience provide mutual support and encouragement to grow a skill, work on a project, or find a different perspective.
Amy Roche, instructional designer with the Center for Learning and Teaching at Penn State Berks, is a member of the ID-2-ID program committee. She said the relationships that are forged between instructional designers are a major benefit of the program. “ID-2-ID participants make connections with other Penn State instructional designers that they wouldn’t have made otherwise,” Roche said. “Expanding the lines of communication at a large, geographically dispersed university like Penn State ensures that there will be sharing of the wealth of knowledge and expertise among the instructional designer community.”
Roche said the program committee has representatives from World Campus, the colleges at University Park, Teaching and Learning with Technology, ITS Training Services, and the commonwealth campuses and colleges. The program committee hosts a kickoff meeting each year for the next group of ID-2-ID participants that is planned around the Learning Design Summer Camp in July.
The committee pairs instructional designers with each other based on what they want to learn and what they want to share. “I created this kind of matrix of what items people want to share and what people want to learn and use that to create matches,” Roche said. “That way you’re not paired with someone who you have nothing in common with.”
One example of a Mentor/Mentee team is Emily Baxter, learning designer in the John A. Dutton e-Education Institute in the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences, and Matt Bodek, coordinator of instructional design at Penn State Brandywine. In this case, Bodek is the mentor, and Baxter the mentee.
“With Emily, I wanted to share some information, share some knowledge, and share some of the complexities that is Penn State,” Bodek said. “My goals were very loose as far as what to do during our time paired up and I just essentially wanted to accommodate Emily’s goals.”
Baxter came to instructional design after a time as an elementary school teacher and joined the Dutton Institute in December 2013. She was instantly drawn to the ID-2-ID program once she heard about it because of her being relatively new to higher education instructional design. “I was a new learning designer when I started ID-2-ID,” she said. “I had just been at the University for about six months, so it seemed like it would be a great program for my situation in particular.”
Baxter said she had three goals. First, she wanted to extend her network of professional contacts across Penn State. In addition, she wanted to explore how other learning design shops approach the design process, and compare to what they do at Dutton. Then, she was hoping to learn more about technology tools for teaching online courses.
They met via the online meeting tool Zoom, which both said worked very well. They also attended one or two events a month together and then would talk on Zoom about what they had learned.
Another activity was working on a project with WeVideo, a tool for online video editing, collaboration, and sharing. “That essentially was a project or component in one of Emily’s courses and she had not worked with WeVideo at all,” Bodek said. “We worked on the project together so she had a better idea of the interface, what it can and cannot do, and so on.”
The “buddy” version of the ID-2-ID program brought together Dean Shaffer, instructional designer at Penn State Lehigh Valley, and Heidi Watson-Held, learning designer/faculty researcher with the Clearinghouse for Military Family Readiness. “We did a lot of comparing of what each of us does,” Shaffer said. “I was interested to learn how she designs each of her courses since she uses tech tools like Captivate and Storyline. Those are things I’ve never had the opportunity to use so seeing how both of those work was really interesting. It made me want to go out to learn some new authoring tools.”
For Watson-Held, this was her second pairing. Her first was with Julie Lang, a TLT instructional designer who was at World Campus at the time. Watson-Held is a more professional training-oriented instructional designer, while Lang was more online-course focused. With Shaffer, she found the pairing to be an opportunity to learn an instructional design perspective from someone at a campus.
“I’ve had the opportunity hear from Dean what it’s like to be an ID at a campus and how his role was different than mine, and even different than Julie’s role at World Campus,” Watson-Held said. “It was really eye opening for me to see how significantly different ID roles can be.”
Like Baxter and Bodek, Shaffer and Watson-Held both attended professional development events and discussed what they saw and learned. “We attended sessions on accessibility, competencies, and student evaluations of competencies,” Shaffer said. “it was nice to be able to discuss those things after the presentation, rather than letting it drop. Helps to reinforce what you heard.”
“I really enjoyed talking to Dean every week and focusing on different topics in instructional design,” Watson-Held said. “It really helped me make sure I got my professional development in. We went together to a couple of online things and we discussed them afterwards. We discussed them from each of our perspectives.”
This sort of give-and-take and professional interaction is to be expected from such a program as ID-2-ID, but participants sometimes get benefits out of it that they don’t expect. For example, with the Bodek and Baxter pairing, Bodek noted that working on the WeVideo project with Baxter was a surprise and something that he got a lot out of. With the Watson-Held and Shaffer pairing, in Watson-Held’s case, it was the eye-opening experience of seeing instructional design through a peer in another area’s eyes.
“We started looking at PowerPoint accessibility in particular, and Dean was coming at it from a whole different way than I was,” Watson-Held said. “Dean’s perspective was ‘how can I teach my faculty that I am consulting with to ensure that PowerPoints are accessible.’ Whereas I was looking at it as ‘how can I create accessible PowerPoints?’”
Baxter, Bodek, Shaffer, and Watson-Held all said they strongly recommend that other Penn State instructional designers participate in the ID-2-ID program. “I would definitely recommend it even if it adds to your already full work plate,” Shaffer said. “it’s worth it because you can make connections with other people and do beneficial things you probably wouldn’t do if it was not scheduled.”
“I am looking forward to the next round of ID-2-ID pairings and doing some new stuff,” Shaffer added.
Bodek said for someone like him in a small instructional design shop, he recommends ID-2-ID just for being able to talk with a peer, which he said is invaluable. “I think the program is very beneficial to other instructional designers who are at a campus where you can’t talk the instructional design pedagogy with other people because they simply aren’t there,” he said. “It expands your peer network.”
Roche said the program is so successful, there is talk about offering the program to instructional designers beyond Penn State at some point in the future. “Things have gone so well, there was talk of expanding it to other CIC (Committee on Institutional Cooperation) institutions and Unizin institutions,” she said. “So, we are including the University of Nebraska-Lincoln this year as a participant.”
ID-2-ID Program helps growing learning design community connect, collaborate
Part of a continuing effort to grow and connect the instructional design community at Penn State, the ID-2-ID Program matches instructional designers (ID) and graduate students in the instructional design field for a one-year period in either peer-to-peer or mentor-mentee relationships.
The program provides a structure for IDs to share their expertise and improve on areas where they are less informed via shared knowledge. It also helps IDs build their professional peer network. The ID-2-ID program is accepting applications to join the program through June 24 and interested parties can apply at http://sites.psu.edu/id2id/.
Participants in the program have several options when applying. They can either be a Mentor, an experienced ID guiding and supporting a less experienced ID; a Mentee, working with a more experienced Mentor to grow professionally; or a Buddy, partnering with a peer ID to build a skill, develop a project, or help each other with professional growth.
Four examples of Penn State IDs involved in the program are John Haubrick, instructional designer, World Campus, Glenn Johnson, instructional designer, Department of Statistics; Amanda Quinton, instructional designer, World Campus; and Crystal Ramsay, research associate and instructional consultant, Schreyer Institute. Johnson and Quinton were partnered, with Johnson the Mentor and Quinton the Mentee, and Ramsay and Haubrick were paired as Buddies.
All were drawn to the program for a variety of reasons. For Haubrick, he was a fairly new employee at the time, only on the job for about one year. “I knew I had a lot of room to grow and I wanted to learn from others out there,” he said. “And being new to Penn State, I thought it would be nice to connect with someone outside of my unit.”
Ramsay said she heard about the program at a perfect time. “An e-mail came across my desk about the program,” Ramsay said, “I have been trying over the last couple of years to create some closer connections to other people in the learning design community, and this seemed like a good opportunity.”
Ramsay also noted that the program does not just match people randomly, but based on background, experience, and other relevant factors. This, she believes, makes the program more effective.
“John and I share a background in public education. We had some immediate connections there, which really made it a great benefit,” Ramsay said.
Quinton agreed with Ramsay and Haubrick about the networking aspect of the program, and said that connection and collaboration among IDs is important for teaching and learning at Penn State. She said that it’s especially helpful for someone like her, working at World Campus. “With everything changing and evolving in online education, if we can be more connected and work together in collaboration, that would make for a better learning experience for our students,” she said.
Johnson said that the ID-2-ID program provides professional development that is higher quality than, for example, simply listening to a speaker present. “When you work with a person over a period of time,” Johnson said. “You get to know them. So now you have another colleague. You’re developing a professional relationship with a skilled person that you otherwise may not have had.”
“There’s quite a group of IDs at Penn State. Years ago, you could fit all of them into one room, but that’s not the case anymore,” Johnson added.
These relationships, Haubrick said, are helpful because you get to see what other units and colleges are doing across the University, and how they operate. In turn, he said that he hopes to apply what he learned in his own work as an instructional designer.
Johnson gave an example of some things he learned from his Mentee, Quinton. “There were things that Amanda was showing me that I thought, ‘I really like that,’” he said. “Like the way to approach something, use a technology in a new way, or implement a strategy in a new way. Like, for example, the YouSeeYou student presentation capture software. This enables me to open up conversations with my faculty on things I might not have known about otherwise. “
A specific example of collaborations that came out of the ID-2-ID Program is Ramsay’s work with the Schreyer Institute’s Course Design Academy, which Haubrick participated in through his work with Ramsay. “For one day during the Course Design Academy, we seek out people from the instructional design community to match with faculty participants, who are redesigning courses,” she said. ”And John was a fabulous addition to our cadre of mentors. So, he worked with a singular faculty member for an afternoon and gave her his undivided attention on a course that she was developing. And she was beyond thrilled. She was very happy.”
Quinton said that working with Johnson helped her do well on a new project. “Glenn and I had discussions about e-Portfolios and implementing e-Portfolios into a new program that I’m working on,” she said. “Glenn invited me to come to a meeting with other individuals that were talking about implementing the e-Portfolio, and I got to bounce ideas off them. It was very helpful to get those other perspectives.”
All four IDs agreed that they would like to continue with the program, because they believe the ID-2-ID Program has a lot of value for a learning design community that continues to grow at Penn State. Ramsay said people in higher education are thinking more deeply about pedagogy as they become more aware of the value of it. “Something like this is really useful, because Penn State is a huge place,” she said. “And we’ve got all these pockets of knowledge, experience, and skills. A program like this that does some intentional connecting, I think, benefits the people involved, the University, and ultimately, the students.”
“I really think the ID-2-ID Program is one of the best things ever to come out of TLT,” Johnson added.