Teaching college, a lot of professors don't have any coursework in education and pedagogy, so we have at our disposal an instructional designer and a technologist. At first, as an adjunct, I didn't think I had much use for their services. I know how to plan lessons and to figure out how to meet objectives. However, now that I'm full time I've been spending more and more time with our ID and I have to say I'm becoming a better teacher because of it.
This first experience gave me two takeaways:
1. Just because it makes sense to you doesn't mean it makes sense to everyone.
2. You don't have to wait till midterm or the next semester, quarter etc to make a change. If it will help your students change NOW.
This ID and I have now become work BFFs and are developing a great friendship outside of work too. So now I often go to her to discuss ideas for lessons, how I want to structure my syllabus etc. She's actually younger than me and has taught less years however, in this role, she gets to spend all day thinking about how to help instructors design their courses with their students' success in mind without getting bogged down by the grading etc that we all have to do so she has great insight. We are currently collaborating on a gameified version of one of my courses which is super fun.
She also helped me create a spreadsheet where I can list all my outcomes and objectives and then put down which assignments are activities, formative, and summative assessments for each outcome/objective. This way it'll be easier to keep my students "in the know" about what objective we are working on and I can make sure that I am absolutely teaching the material required of me.
Now, when I taught 7-12 I didn't have access to an ID. I'm sure many of you don't either. But you do have access to each other and to blogs and to education journals. I challenge you to think about your courses and about the last time you revamped anything. Consider the complaints you keep hearing from your students- are they actually more justified than you thought? Be willing to ask for help and feedback and be willing to act on the advice you're given. The more we grow and change, the better off our students will be.
Thanks for reading!