Empowering Faculty with Technology
Established in July of 1996, the Center for Instructional Design and Delivery (CIDD) of the University of South Dakota (USD) has focused on the training of USD faculty and staff to optimize the application of technological resources in their daily activities. In its third semester of existence and second semester of training activity, the CIDD program has changed to better serve USD needs.
Progressing from an initial situation in which the Center had to borrow facilities from the academic units of the university to deliver its training, CIDD now has a state-of-the-art facility with a broad variety of technological resources in terms of software and hardware. To deliver the training program, CIDD incorporates diverse internal human resources, utilizing guest speakers from various academic units. Depending upon the topic of the training, the characteristics of the trainee group, and the skills available from the pool of potential visiting experts, the guest speaker may represent disciplines from Arts and Sciences, Business, Education, Fine Arts, Law, or Medicine. This situation has turned out to be win-win: the faculty in training see by the visiting scholars diversity that technology is widely used and widely necessary in education. The visiting scholars also derive a great deal of satisfaction from being able to contribute to the university-wide upgrading of computer skills without having to take a significant amount of time from their schedules.
For direction, curriculum development, and academic integrity, CIDD has added a half-time tenure-track faculty member whose forte is instructional design and delivery. To schedule and hold training sessions for USD faculty, staff and students, an instructional coordinator has also been hired. At the present time, CIDD personnel number fourteen:
Two co-directors, representing support services and academia;
Instructional design and delivery specialist (half-time);
Graphics designer/multimedia production specialist;
Videography/digital audio/audio production specialist;
Administrative assistant/smart classrooms technician;
Senior secretary; and
Four graduate assistants.
There are two distinct training opportunities offered at CIDD. The first is general training sessions open to the entire campus. The second, and the focus of this paper, is daily training sessions for selected USD faculty. Each semester, the deans of each academic unit at USD choose two teachers to be trained at CIDD. These trainee faculty have become known as the CIDD faculty and attend, in groups of a maximum of twelve per semester, a training program of ten hours per week. In order to accomplish this, faculty need release time from their normal workload. During the first semester of training sessions, CIDD faculty were released from 50% of their workload by their deans, with CIDD funding half of the release time and the sponsoring academic unit assuming the other half. In this, the second semester of training, CIDD is no longer funding release time and, consequently, CIDD faculty receive only 25% relief from their normal workload.
The 10 hour per week training program for CIDD faculty is based on the broad goal of the CIDD program, which is to enable USD faculty and staff to optimize the application of technology in their daily professional activities. Having instructional design as a unifying theme, CIDD offered, in the first semester of the 1997/98 academic year, thirteen weeks of training, each focusing on one specific technology with potential instructional application. After one week of classes on the foundations of instructional design, the weekly subjects included, among others, Web page development, PowerPoint presentation, PhotoShop, video/audio, distance learning and multimedia production. On the first day of each new week, the instructional value and potential applications of the coming instructional technology theme were discussed.
The faculty involved were to fulfill six CIDD expectations:
Design or modify one course during the semester,
Serve as a liaison between the CIDD and their academic units,
Attend training sessions offered by the CIDD,
Present their CIDD projects to their sponsoring entity,
Provide advice and/or assistance in the design, development, and maintenance of the CIDD home page, and
Assist the CIDD in the pursuit of grant funding.
In order to help them accomplish this goal, laboratory sessions where they could get individual assistance and work on individual projects were offered, in addition to the technology-oriented training sessions.
At the beginning of the semester, the CIDD faculty completed an attitudinal survey investigating their attitude towards the use of technology. The survey items were derived from other attitudinal survey instruments and items were added to adapt the instrument to the USD and CIDD goals. A computer program was written to allow the CIDD faculty to do the survey online, thus reinforcing the idea that data capture and analysis through technology is more efficient.
The results of the survey show that the CIDD faculty overwhelmingly agree that using technology in their professional activities is relevant, necessary and appealing, both for them and for their students. The only remarkable dissention from this opinion comes in the question about computer use reducing stress: by a large majority, the respondents disagreed.
In order to evaluate the work of the current semester and provide bases for future changes, the CIDD faculty members completed an evaluation form every week before starting a new theme. Seven questions were asked, once again online, this time formatted in a word processing template to allow more flexibility for the essay answers:
How many of the five sessions have you attended?
Please list the subject(s)
What you would like to have had more of?
What you would like to have had less of?
The content covered satisfied your needs/expectations.
knew the subject;
gave clear explanations;
presented the material in an interesting way;
used appropriate techniques;
Please make whatever additional comments you think might be helpful.
The most frequent comment/complaint was that there was too much lecture and discussion and not enough hands-on work. The participants wanted to begin producing something in the first class and pick up the theory inductively, or not at all. Perhaps because all of the participants were professional educators and had therefore already assimilated some instructional theory, they voiced objection to talking about instruction instead of creating some. Another frustration manifested by the participants was that ten hours a week was not enough time to absorb the instruction and to finish their individual projects.
Based on analysis of the trainee facultys evaluation of the course, evaluation of the participating faculty members work, and dialogue with participants in training sessions, an evolution of the model is being implemented. CIDD has established a Technology Enrichment Grant (TEG). Any USD faculty member is eligible to apply for a grant that allows the recipient to become a CIDD faculty member for one semester and pays up to $300 for supplies. The grant is for the design of a new course or the redesigning of an existing course. The target course is defined in the grant application by name, proposed effect, means of evaluation, and expected date of implementation.
The outcome of this modification will be twofold: to make CIDD instruction more hands-on and project-specific, and to provide increased opportunities for participation. USD faculty may now enter the CIDD program by 1) obtaining release time from their dean or chair, 2) applying for a TEG, or 3) buying release time through a USD faculty development program grant. An important aspect of the modification is to make becoming CIDD faculty a voluntary decision of the individual teacher rather than an administrative decision by a dean or chair.
The Center for Instructional Design and Delivery (CIDD) at the University of South Dakota (USD) is the result of a university initiative to direct resources into modernizing course design and delivery through technology. After two semesters of training USD faculty to incorporate technology into their teaching and research activities, CIDD is using feedback from the participants to modify the program to better satisfy both the requirements of the university and the perceived needs of the trainee faculty.
Dr. Celina Byers, an instructional technology specialist with extensive experience in multimedia production and faculty development programs, is presently an Assistant Professor and Coordinator of InforMedia Services at St. Cloud State University.
E-mail: [email protected]
Dr. William A. Byers has been an English professor in Iran, an international management consultant, the co-founder and Director of Pedagogy at an ESL school in Brazil, an instructor at the Intensive English Language Institute (IELI) at the University of North Texas, an educational software developer, and, currently, an Assistant Professor in the English Department at St. Cloud State University.
E-mail: [email protected]
Dr. Michael Hoadley is a Professor at the University of South Dakota, where he also serves as Chair of the Division of Technology for Training and Development (TTD) in the School of Education and Co-Director of the Center for Instructional Design and Delivery (CIDD) for the campus.
E-mail: [email protected]
Mr. Mark Pike has been working in higher education in the field of instructional technology for almost 20 years. He is currently the Director of the Educational Media Center and the Co-Director of the Center for Instructional Design and Delivery (CIDD) at the University of South Dakota.
This article originally appeared in the 05/01/2000 issue of THE Journal.