BALTIMORE, August 4, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — The University System of Maryland (USM) today announced the launch of a new Instructional Design Support Service, available this summer and fall to USM faculty, designed to provide concierge-level assistance to help faculty switch to online education. The system will use an independent instructional design company iDesignwhich has worked with over 100 institutions to design, create and support award-winning online courses.
“As the system continues to navigate this time of unprecedented uncertainty, we understand that it is imperative as a system to put resources, tools and scaffolding in place to help teachers succeed in the online education, regardless of their level of experience,” said MJ Bishop, Associate Vice-Chancellor and Director of the University System of from Maryland William E. Kirwan Center for Academic Innovation. “This support hub will help us build the edge capacity of faculty, providing them with the instructional design support they need to thrive and perform at their best in the online environment.”
The Instructional Design Support Center (IDSC) is designed to ease the transition to online teaching for faculty and, by extension, improve course quality for students. The center will help meet the diverse needs of faculty, whose course loads, disciplines, and level of experience with online teaching vary widely.
Over the summer and before the school year, more than 11,000 faculty across 10 USM campuses will have access to a resource center to support online teaching and course design, templates to use in on-campus learning management systems, and on-board access to instructional design support and troubleshooting services. Participating campuses that will each receive custom IDSC deployments include: Bowie State University; Coppin State University; Frostburg State University; Salisbury University; Towson University; University of Baltimore; University of Maryland, Baltimore; University of Maryland Environmental Science Center; University of Maryland, College Park; and University of Maryland Eastern Shore.
A April survey found that more than 50% of faculty agreed that greater access to digital resources would be most helpful in supporting online teaching, while nearly half indicated online resource centers with information about way to quickly transition to online learning.
“The pandemic has shown how critical faculty-focused innovation, creativity and leadership continue to be, especially at this time when our students face uncertainty within and outside outside the classroom,” said Whitney Kilgore, Ph.D., co-founder and academic director of iDesign. “The university system of Maryland has been at the forefront of improving quality and rigor in online course delivery, and this partnership is another example of how the system is helping campuses better serve students by empowering teachers and meeting their needs. »
Through the partnership with iDesign, USM faculty will also have access to the company’s popular online teaching path, an immersive lesson sequence designed to provide faculty with an immediate introduction to best practices in teaching at distance. Through the short courses, professors and other higher education professionals will be able to access approved teaching resources, practical examples and effective techniques used by experienced online instructors. Recently, USM and the member institution University of Maryland Global Campus (UMGC) has formed a $2.6 million Partnership, MUS On trackto work with provosts, directors of teaching and learning centers, instructional designers, technology educators, and others to support and evaluate the expansion of high-quality online learning in the whole system.
About iDesign: iDesign partners with colleges and universities to create, develop and support online and blended programs. We are passionate about helping faculty harness the potential of emerging technologies to design courses and degrees that make an impact, whether fully online, flipped, blended, adaptive, or competency-based. Our unbundled fee-for-service model is rooted in a commitment to flexibility and institutional autonomy, while our analytics platform supports continuous improvement through rigorous measurement of student engagement and quality lessons. From statewide university systems to private colleges, our custom solutions combine instructional design with technology to enable quality education. To learn more, please visit www.idesignu.org.