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Course- ITD-602, Instructional Design Technology and Design Tools: University of North Alabama.

Written by Dr. Mercy Alu

My focus as an educator and instructional designer, is to engage students in learning and thinking through various theoretical and practical concepts   I have always respected education, partly based on my family background, with my father who was orphaned at a young age being passionate about learning and eventually earning his Doctorate degree years after his Masters degree, while caring for a family of seven children.  My mother valued learning also, in a practical way, with her focus on gaining certifications and hands-on practice in the fields of catering, basic nursing, gardening/horticulture.  I have seen how education can equip an individual to interact with their environment in general.  As a very creative person, instructional design is one of the types of projects I would undertake as an instructor/designer or under my umbrella proprietor HR Consulting organization Alu Consulting Services LLC. I find learning fun and interesting and seek to discover new ways to continue to promote the joy of learning by making my courses engaging, interactive, accessible, easy to access and inclusive for learners.

My role in teaching, is comparable to holding a light-bulb and passing it along back and forth in the classroom, while navigating the passageway of learning, discovering and sharing new ideas while exploring new perspectives. Education enhances lives, and there should be  a reciprocal relationship between teachers and students where each has a duty and role in the learning process. A teacher should be a guide and provide knowledge, learning materials including use of technology resources, while providing a stimulating learning environment, opportunities for learners  to practice their skills, and feedback for growth. Students should be tolerant of others, prepared for class, willing to participate meaningfully in classroom discussions  and able to apply the classroom learning in problem-solving within professional or general life situations.  I believe all learners are unique, so I value the curiosity that guides the learning experience. As a teacher, I am their guide and maintain high expectations for learning, hard-work and diligence, to maximize the natural benefits that come along with a positive mindset and setting the bar high enough to stimulate goal setting and achievement. I believe that learning is a lifelong process for everyone, and encourage students to keep on learning while they put what they derived from my courses into practice.

I have taught in various settings; on-site in the corporate environment as a Business and Human Resources Management professional, and in the online learning environment; to traditional, non-traditional and special needs students.  I managed a clerical skills program for the United Cerebral Palsy where I taught basic foundational academic and office skills such as English, Math, Beginning Excel in a Unit  geared towards high functioning learners who would transition into accommodated work roles with the state of Illinois.  I have taken onsite, hybrid, and then strictly online courses successively to earn my undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees.  I have taught University undergraduate courses both onsite and online as an adjunct instructor and have designed a few LMS accessible corporate learning E-guides and courses. 

The digital learning experiences have emphasized to me the importance of engagement, accessibility and ease of use in designing and/or facilitating online courses, and several researchers in the field of online instructional design have influenced my philosophy in this area. The online classroom, in general, should be designed for accessibility; ease of use and be available for all students and staff.  (Putnam et al. 2016) In order to accomplish this, all aspects of Instructional design, including the software tool selected for delivery of instruction, the content of the material being presented and the modalities of presenting them; should be taken into consideration. Moore and Kearsley (2012) suggest, “the best distance teachers are empathetic” (p. 127); instructors should understand the specific personalities of their students and find ways to engage and interact with them through various mediums. Some students will want a high level of instructor involvement while others will want more independence” (Moore & Kearsley, 2012).

Mayer’s theory of multimedia with various principles for multimedia design emphasize in summary that humans learn better with a combination of both visual and text elements.  In order to make my online courses accessible and interactive for all learners, I believe in combining these elements in design and diversifying channels of instruction delivery to include audio, visual, text, podcasts, illustrations and other formats to enhance learning.

   The Bates sections model emphasizes to me as an educator and instructional designer that there are ways to evaluate the effectiveness of applying certain technologies in designing online curriculum, which should include: The student population who would be utilizing/interacting with the technology, the Ease of use of the technology which includes the accessibility of both the website, the software etc, the costs involved, the interactivity, any organizational issues, networking, security and privacy, the mode of teaching/media.

  In conclusion, my teaching philosophy both as an educator and instructional designer combine the traditional elements of appreciation for the important value of education in all settings, both academic and professional; with well-grounded guidance in instructional design and learning principles. 

Bates, A. (1995). Teaching, open learning and distance education.

Bates, T., & Poole, G. (2003). Effective teaching with technology in higher education: Foundations for success.

Huett, J., Moller, L., Foshay, W., & Coleman, C. (2008). The evolution of distance education: Implications for instructional design on the potential of the web (Part 3: K12). TechTrends, 52(5), 63–6 7.

Mayer, R. E. (2014). Incorporating motivation into multimedia learning. Learning and Instruction, 29, 171

Mayer, R. E., & Moreno, R. (2003). Nine ways to reduce cognitive load in multimedia learning. Educational Psychologist, 38(1), 43-52. doi:10.1207/S15326985EP3801_6

Moore, M. G., & Kearsley, G. (2012). Distance education: A systems view of online learning. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth, Cengage Learning.

Putnam, C., Dahman, M., Rose, E., Cheng, J., & Bradford, G. (2016). Best practices for teaching accessibility in university classrooms: cultivating awareness, understanding, and appreciation for diverse users. ACM Transactions on Accessible Computing (TACCESS)8(4), 1-26.FacebookTwitterLinkedInPinterestShare

By Dr Mercy Alu

I am a mother, HR consultant, author, Goodwill Ambassador with Globcal (a partner with UN on SDG's in Africa), coordinator with International Association of African Authors/Scholars, a songwriter/recording artist, researcher, and social anthropologist of sorts! I believe we should all live our best lives, and enjoy helping organizations and individuals perform better. I and my guest authors love to share information about the world around us; African events & Entertainment, plus lots of good information about Health, Wellness, Family, Book Publishing, Business, Relationships, Culture, Folk Stories, and much more. I speak several languages including French and Igbo (a West African Language). I enjoy research, writing, reading, singing and finding out lots of things about, well, lots of things! Knowledge is power. So information and knowledge gained from experiences, observation, all flavor the things I write about in the exciting blog portion of this website. Feel free to drop me a line or two, I also want to hear from you!

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