Instructional Designers as “First Responders” Helping Faculty Teach in the Coronavirus Crisis

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Victoria Abramenka-Lachheb
Ahmed Lachheb
Amaury Cesar de Siqueira
Lesa Huber


Many higher education institutions in the United States had to implement a strategy of rapid pivoting from face-to-face to online learning in response to the Spring 2020 global COVID-19 pandemic. Face-to-face learning posed a high risk of uncontrolled widespread of the virus, thus, classes had to switch rapidly to a remote mode of instruction that leveraged online learning technologies. The rapid pivoting from face-to-face to online learning posed unprecedented challenges. It is widely accepted among the communities of instructional designers, educators who teach online, and higher education administrators that designing online courses requires more than mirroring face-to-face courses in the online environment (Watson et al., 2017). Instructional strategies adopted in face-to-face instruction are not as effective in online learning environments as research has shown (Baldwin et al., 2018), and as students have remarked[1]. The application of instructional strategies tailored for online learning ensures meaningful learning experiences (Watson et al., 2017); thus, a quality online learning experience. For example, quality online learning experiences do not require weekly meetings as students live in different time zones and adopt an asynchronous approach to learning to ensure flexible and equitable access to course materials. However, providing faculty support for the rapid pivot from face-to-face to online learning with limited time and instructional design resources is uncharted territory. Faculty and instructional designers were challenged to support quality learning experiences through online course design in less than two weeks at many campuses across the country.


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Abramenka-Lachheb, V., Lachheb, A., de Siqueira, A. C., & Huber, L. (2021). Instructional Designers as “First Responders” Helping Faculty Teach in the Coronavirus Crisis. Journal of Teaching and Learning With Technology, 10(1).