Instructional Design Assistance

Instructional Design Assistance

Instructional design is the analysis of learning needs and the systematic development of instruction. Using expertise in educational research, technology, and best practice, an instructional designer collaborates and assists faculty in creating high-quality instruction aligned with learning objectives and goals. The primary focus of our Instructional Designers is the design of the course. Faculty are still solely responsible for course content and delivery.

Assistance is available for ALL or SOME elements of the course design and development process.

Instructional Design Elements

Implementing – Reviewing Quality Matters Design Standards
Quality Matters evaluates course components according to eight general standards, including course overview and introduction, learning objectives, assessment and measurement, instructional materials, learner interaction and engagement, course technology, learner support, and accessibility.

Defining – refining course objectives
Determining the objectives for the course will clarify what you want the students to learn and accomplish. Having these course objectives in mind will help you make decisions about which content to include, which teaching methods to use, and what kind of assignments and exams are appropriate. Course objectives are required by most program accrediting bodies.
Bloom’s Taxonomy provides a helpful framework for identifying the observable and measurable skills you would like your students to learn. 

Organizing – reorganizing course content
A three-step process for determine course content is: (1) Select the main topics to be covered; (2) Pare down and refine your initial list of topics. (3) Determine the structure of the course; arrange the topics in a logical order.  You can choose to organize the topics in a variety of ways, whether chronological, topical, conceptual, survey-oriented, or process-oriented. Think about how the structure of the course will contribute to student learning.

Selecting - Developing -  Tweaking teaching methods
Once you have determined the course goals and content, think about how you will present the content. Select and develop teaching methods that are 1) appropriate for the online environment and 2) consistent with the course objectives.  The learning environment should be collaborative, interactive, engaging, and incorporates feedback.

Selecting tools and teaching approaches
Once you have determined the teaching methods select the tools and develop material, test and implement. that are 1) appropriate for the online/blended environment and 2) consistent with the course objectives. The learning environment should be collaborative, interactive, engaging, and incorporates feedback.

Determining – refining how you will evaluate learning by planning assignments and exams
Evaluation must go hand-in-hand with course objectives.  Assignments should be experiential, applied, meaning and/or reflective. Alternative approaches should be used.  Instructions and grading criteria and requirements should be clearly stated.  For example, if one course objective is to improve problem-solving skills, the exam should not contain only questions that ask learners to recall facts; it should contain questions that ask students to solve specific and well-chosen problems. By the same token, homework and learning activities leading up to the exam must include some questions that require problem-solving skills. 

Selecting texts and other materials
If you are using a textbook(s), decide whether the course objectives will be best met by using a formally published textbook or Open Educational Resources (OER) that includes whole courses, open textbooks, as well as small instructional modules that make up the Open Course Materials.

Defining – refining course policies
Decide ahead of time how you will deal with such issues as tardiness, attendance problems, work turned in late, and requests for extensions or the rescheduling of exams. Develop strategies for preventing and responding to plagiarism and cheating. Include all course policies on the syllabus and plan to review them with students on the first day of class. Net etiquette and class discussion requirements are important to overview.

Developing the course schedule – course map
There can be a tendency to try to accomplish too much during each weekly module.  When preparing the schedule, consult the relevant academic and departmental calendars, and keep in mind major holidays and significant campus events.

Meeting the Student Learning Needs
Determining the diverse body of student learners and creating an online learning environment for success is core to every online course. Providing resources, instructions and content to facilitate success is essential.

Refining and Innovating the course design
Course design and development is an iterative process.  New approaches will be presented in the TLC newsletter, during events and webinars. Try them out.

Consultations with Teaching and Learning Center (TLC) Staff are voluntary and confidential. All correspondence and information associated with our office related to consultation services are marked as confidential and securely filed. The TLC Staff will not share your information.  All summaries of observations, notes or recommendations made to a faculty member during consultation meetings are provided only to the faculty member to be used as he/she chooses. Any additional use of these documents are subject to the consent of the instructor.

The TLC Consultation Feedback process has no bearing on promotion or tenure decisions and is in no way associated with standard departmental evaluative reports.

For any question, comments, or to request training, contact Cindy Russell,

We also welcome you to stop by our office ANYTIME to visit or get assistance.  We are here to partner with you!
Teaching and Learning Center, 920 Madison Ave Suite 424


Contact us

Office of Academic, Faculty, and Student Affairs
Teaching & Learning Center
920 Madison Ave. Ste. 424
Memphis, TN 38163
Karen Shader
(901) 448-2947