Grey Tales


Tales from an Instructional Technologist in the world of legal education and beyond…

NERCOMP: Educational Technology in Professional and Executive Education: Afternoon Speakers

Extending the Student Experience: Alternate Delivery of Student Services, Using Course Platforms, Digital Content and Multimedia

Allison Harrington, Instructional Technology Designer, Harvard Graduate School of Education
Valerie Sutton, Director, Career Services Office, Harvard Graduate School of Education

The Challenge: One year master’s program, 42% of students entering have less than two years of work experience, students overwhelmed with decisions once they arrive on campus, career conversations need to start earlier so students can identify appropriate resources and courses for their professional path.

The Opportunity: Online workshop for incoming master’s students to help early identification of career interests/goals. The project goals are to facilitate curricular planning, classify and narrow extracurricular activities, identify Harvard resources to assist in curricular and career planning, smooth the progress of a one-year master’s program to full-time position within three months of graduation

Tiered approach: Facilitated workshop that is online at the beginning of August, prior to arrival on campus that is highly facilitate by Career Services staff. There is also a Self-pace workshop that is online, accessible anytime that is launched after the facilitated workshop to leverage facilitated workshop design and assets.

Roles: Project Lead/Stakeholder, Project Manager, Instructional Designer, Instructional Technologist, Subject Matter Expert(s) (SME), Course Facilitator(s), Technical Trainer, Technical Support (*one person may play multiple roles!)

Development Process:

  1. Internal kick-off meeting: bi-weekly meetings scheduled for duration of project and tentative development schedule with milestone dates determined (which is refined after instructional design phase to account for asset development specifics)
  2. Instructional design phase: completed a high-level design document including workshop objectives, breakdown of sessions, session objectives, and instructional activities and assignment. There is close collaboration between the SME, project lead and instructional designer.
  3. Asset development phase: identification of digital assets based on instructional design (e.g., development of digital asset list; scope and mini project plan for each digital asset), content creations working in collaboration with SME’s, production of assets, quality assurance testing. There is close collaboration between project manager, instructional designer, instructional technologist, and SME’s. Things are both internally developed and outsourced.
  4. Communication plan: Targeted communication sent to incoming master’s students with less than 2 years working experience. Students completed online registration form to express interest. First 25 participants selected to participate in pilot workshop. Follow-up communications sent to all integrated respondents alerting them to self-paced offering. Instructions sent to the registrants for the facilitated workshop
  5. Course site creation/population/quality assurance testing: Leveraged instructional design to set up the architecture for the site, populated content on the site; added assets as completed, set up discussion boards and blogs, added instsructions for web conferencing sessions, proofread content, checked links, enrolled students. There is close collaboration between the project manager, project lead, instructional designer and instructional technologist.
  6. Facilitator preparation: Creation of instructor and student guide. Facilitator training on delivery tools (e.g., discussion boards, blogs, web conferencing)
  7. Launch!: Facilitated launched in August (28 students). Self-paced launched in mid-September (55 registrants to date)

Lessons Learned: Facilitated Module- Introductions (Web conferences for real-time relationship-building at the start), Timing (synchronous components with geographically dispersed students; planning for potential move/arrival on campus), Workload, Drop-out Rate, Content creation (Realistic expectations for quantity of content that can be developed in timeframe.)

Next Steps: Evaluation, focus group and longitudinal assessment; Additional content development for version 2; Next up: Virtual Career Days!

Example: Career Services Online Workshop


Filed under: Educational Technology, Instructional Technology, , ,

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