Professor's Office

How To Save Time Teaching: Meet With CETL Instructional Designers

September 15, 2021

The Center for Excellence in Teaching & Learning (CETL) offers many useful resources for adjunct, tenured and tenure-track, and Instructional, Research, and Clinical (IRC) faculty, but a recent initiative will be of particular interest to any professors getting started on course-planning for spring.

This fall, with support from Lynx Together and in partnership with the School of Education & Human Development’s Learning Design and Technology program, CETL has hired four instructional designers to assist anyone who teaches any course at CU Denver—and in any format—to better organize their courses with student success in mind. Instructional design is especially beneficial to faculty who teach the influential courses taken by first- and second-year students that have proven most indicative of future academic success. The ultimate goal of this project is to prepare faculty to use promising emerging techniques that help student succeed.

Whatever your title might be, anyone who teaches a course at CU Denver is welcome to use this service.

Lindsey Hamilton, Director of the Center for Excellence in Teaching & Learning

Lindsey Hamilton, PhD, the director of CETL and an associate professor of psychology in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, noted that faculty who work with an instructional designer tend to see improvements in student feedback. And, despite the initial time investment, faculty members are also likely to see time savings overall.

Said Hamilton, “When my course is really well-organized, I’m not answering 100 students questions every week about ‘Where do I find this,’ or ‘What am I supposed to do in this assignment,’ or those types of questions.”

“It ends up paying big dividends, timewise.”

With this same pragmatic forethought, Hamilton shared answers to some common questions other faculty members might have about partnering with an instructional designer. If you have additional questions not addressed below, feel free to connect with Hamilton or visit the Center, which is located on the third floor of the new Learning Commons attached to City Heights.

Connect With An Instructional Designer

By focusing on both the positive disruptions, as well as addressing the challenges brought about by the COVID crisis, we hope to accelerate innovation in teaching and launch our classrooms—in all course formats—into a new, uncharted future.

What are some other benefits faculty see from instructional design support?

Instructional design can help improve course pass rates, lower the “DFW” rate [students who receive a grade of D, F, or withdraw], and increase the average course grade point average.

Does instructional design have an impact on the rigor of a course?

No. Instructional design makes courses more student-friendly by organizing materials and processes in a way that’s more accessible. It does not diminish the rigor of a professor’s course.

Is instructional design only for online courses?

No. Though instructional design is often associated with online courses (and was once among the suite of services provided by the Office of Digital Education prior to that office’s move to CU System), the instructional design services offered by CETL are for all faculty and all course formats—in-person, hybrid, remote, online, or accelerated.

How long are instructional design services available from CETL?

Instructional design will be provided by CETL for the duration of the 2021–2022 academic year. To see instructional design services continued, faculty are invited to share input to refine the program so that it can better serve CU Denver’s needs in the future.

Who are the instructional designers?

The instructional designers are graduate students in the School of Education & Human Development’s Learning Design and Technology program. They provide professional-to-professional -level support, working one-on-one with faculty. They are available to meet either in-person or remotely.