Instructional design coordinator
|This article does not cite any references or sources. (December 2013)|
An Instructional Design Coordinator is a person who is responsible for overseeing the implementation of instructional design techniques, usually in an academic setting or in corporate training.
Instructional design became popular in the 1930s, when the United States was developing new instructional techniques, as the need for rapidly training soldiers in a multitude of technical fields rose sharply during World War II. Since then, instructional designers have come up with new and innovative techniques to facilitate learning, using the most advanced technology available to them. Today, Instructional Design Coordinators employ modern technology, such as the Internet, to implement the techniques developed by instructional designers and distribute them to students in a variety of settings.
Instructional design coordinators come into contact with modern computing and communication technology on a daily basis, and must have a strong mastery of a variety of technology-related fields. The instructional design coordinator is expected to work closely with faculty and administrative staff to facilitate technology use in the modern classroom. He or she has experience working with Web-mediated instruction and multimedia applications, is familiar with the principles of web design, digital content distribution, use of Web 2.0 features in online learning and teaching, online collaboration software (groupware), chat rooms and message boards, content repositories, online information storage and retrieval, and preferentially has industry experience working with or developing these technologies.
The successful candidate must also be closely familiar with common desktop computing environments, especially Microsoft Windows and, to a lesser extent, Mac OS, both of which are used in academic settings. Familiarity with common desktop development and office applications, such as Microsoft Office, Macromedia Dreamweaver and other applications in the Macromedia Studio series, Adobe Photoshop, GoLive, applications designed for use in academic settings, such as Camtasia, and other applications used for developing web content and facilitating remote instruction.
Instructional Design Coordinators are employed in a variety of technical specialties, such as technology-based and technology-enhanced instruction, distance learning, multimedia-enhanced instruction, web design and web development, library services, faculty and student training, course development, technical support for students and instructors, course content review, as well as many others. 
Distance learning is a rapidly growing trend in today's academic world, and has found wide acceptance in higher education in the United States and other developed countries. It remedies many logistical problems that are associated with traditional classroom settings, such as the need to be present on campus at a certain time, which is often a prohibitive stumbling block for those who work full-time. While distance learning can be conducted via a variety of communication media, the preferred method today is to deliver course content and facilitate interaction among students and between the instructor and the student via the World Wide Web.
Instructional design coordinators are responsible for overseeing the development and distribution of web-based course content, working with instructors to develop and maintain functional web pages and facilitate the use of dynamic web applications for the distribution of course content, assessments, communication, grade reporting, as well as other tasks required to conduct a complete online learning program via the web.
The advantages to this form of instruction include flexibility for both the students and the instructor in regards to the time spent towards the course, as students are able to log on to the course web site at any time of the day or night. They also enjoy the freedom of being able to complete coursework from any location, as students are generally not required to come to campus at all for courses that are taught fully online.
Due to their increased adoption among educational institutions, distance learning programs drive the demand for powerful hardware and software to host educational applications, often for thousands of users per institution. Current popular learning management systems include Blackboard and Moodle, which are both widely used on campuses nationwide. 
These software suites provide course home pages for instructors which can be easily edited via online forms. The software allows instructors to easily add content via online text editors or using HTML markup. In addition to uploading lecture content, instructors are also able to upload files which would be distributed as handouts in a traditional classroom setting. Students who log onto the course home page can view the course content online or download the materials provided by the instructor, as well as submit assignments posted by the instructor by uploading files from their computers. Instructors can view all student submissions online and grade the assignments through the web interface, making the graded work available to the student immediately. Online grading can be very efficient as it eliminates the need for instructors or teaching assistants to manually calculate grades for assignments or exams, which can also be taken online by students, and are often graded automatically by the software.
The advantages of online learning also motivate many instructors who teach in a traditional classroom setting to use online learning technology to supplement their curricula.
The instructional design coordinator is familiar with the needs of online instructors, especially regarding communication and content distribution. He or she is responsible for adapting existing technology to make the technology as transparent and functional for students and instructors alike. A successful instructional design coordinator understands concepts of software usability, as well as technical support and training in order to deploy software packages that serve the various needs of his or her educational community.
In addition to assisting with the development and the successful deployment of course content to students via the web, the instructional design coordinator also needs to keep records of, and carefully review the contents of the courses which the institution offers, to ensure that the content that is distributed is accessible to all students, complies with current web standards, as well as legal requirements, such as Section 508 of the US Rehabilitation Act, which mandates that electronic publications by government agencies be accessible to persons with disabilities, and copyright compliance, taking into consideration provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.
Support and Training
Instructional Design Coordinators are expected to use their expertise in various technological fields to train faculty and students to use available technology to the fullest extent. In addition to conducting training sessions and seminars, instructional design coordinators provide technical support for students and faculty, ensuring that assistance via phone and e-mail is available to the users as much as possible. The associate needs to guide users through preparing their computers for online learning, perform administrative tasks, such as managing online student enrollment, account management, as well as personal assistance required by users in order to successfully use the available software. It is imperative for the instructional design coordinator to communicate efficiently with students, faculty, and supporting staff to manage the proper implementation of the learning programs required by the institution.
- Instructional design
- Instructional theory
- Distance education
- Online learning
- Educational technology
- Learning management system
- Computer assisted instruction