Instructional Design

For the past twenty years as a college professor, I have learned how people learn.

Along the way, I fell in love with instructional design.

I have learned first hand how people learn, on all sides of the digital classroom—face-to-face and hybrid, flex and hyflex, synchronous and asynchronous, and self-guided. I’ve designed and taught them all.

I am well-versed in adult learning theories, in matching learning goals and objectives with activities and assignments. I’ve used both Quality Matters and OSCQR rubrics to evaluate courses. But most of all, I have learned how to match learners to the technologies and modalities that leave an impact, that engage and inspire.

What follows are some examples of materials I’ve designed for the virtual classroom that are interactive, effective, and inspiring.

eLearning design from the ground up

I was excited to plan and design this natively all-online class from scratch. Using the ADDIE model, microlearning, and storyboarding, Online Journal Editing & Publishing had its first run in Spring 2020. Students joined the editorial board of Pine Hills Review, learned about literary journals, and gained practical experience in publishing.

Tools used: Canvas, WordPress, VoiceThread, Google Docs, Slack, social media, Canvas

Multimodal delivery of material

Students in my creative writing classes presented with critical terms and ideas associated with each assignment. In androgogical terms, it’s pragmatically important that students know these terms and ideas to do well on a quiz. In Flash Nonfiction and Prose Poetry, I experimented with presenting this information by creating a series of short videos using PowToon, a cloud-based animation software, to accompany each assignment. To chunk down often complex terms into small, bite-sized bits is always a challenge. This is the video I made to accompany the Hermit Crab Writing assignment.

Tools used: POWTOON, Canvas

Syllabus quiz in Articulate Storyline 360

Here is a fairly straightforward quiz on a course syllabus, created in Articulate Storyline 360. What was a routine exercise transforms into a more dynamic ice-breaker, complete with easter egg animations and encouraging messages in a comic book font. Uploaded to Canvas, the file blends in perfectly with the official college-branded colors and typefaces.

Tools used: articulate storyline 360, Canvas

Social, personal andragogy

In Poetry in Performance, the main learning objective is to get students onstage and perform poetry. To do this online, and to make sure students are engaged and feel connected, we use several virtual environments for taped and live performances.

Tools used: Facebook Live, Zoom, SoundCloud, YouTube


I discovered I loved instructional design as I worked with fellow instructors on courses, from learning objectives to tackling the LMS. When my college switched to remote instruction as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, I created video tutorials to help colleagues get set up on VoiceThread and posted them on YouTube.

Tools used: TechSmith Knowmia, Focusrite Scarlet 2i2 and Shure Beta 58a microphone, YouTube, Canvas

Accessible Content with Learners in Mind

Lately I’ve been thinking about how LMS-agnostic content makes things easier for instructors and learners. Linked above is a collection of “revision techniques,” which I use in all my classes. Posting content on YouTube also makes it accessible for all of my classes, and available to others to use as well.

Tools used: Word, Adobe Acrobat, VoiceThread, TechSmith Relay, YouTube, Blackboard, Canvas


“Love This Class: Writing Poetry,” a short video my college made on a poetry class I taught recently.