MDDE 619 - Assignment #3 Summary

This was offered as an alternative assignment later in the course in lieu of writing about the application of instructional design and accessibility considerations associated with the design and delivery of a distance education program. The goal was to provide a sound overview of which emerging educational technologies will affect the role of instructional design, the role of the Instructional Designer in it, and how they will accomplish that. Additionally, it was necessary to suggest modifications for MDDE 619 in order to meet the competencies that an ID should fulfil in the future.

The number one benefit of information technology is that it empowers people to do what they want to do. It lets people be creative. It lets people be productive.

It lets people learn things they didn't think they could learn before, and so in a sense it is all about potential.

Steve Ballmer


Emerging Technologies, Instructional Design and a MDDE 619 Redesign

Artefact Reasoning

I chose this artefact for many reasons.  When I think of distance education I typically think of technology and the last 20 years have demonstrated how quickly technology and the learning curve required to keep up with it, have changed. The topic of technology is never the same from year to year.  Articles that highlighted upcoming technology 3 years ago and anticipated the up and comers in the next 20 years, have already seen their predictions come and go.  For this reason, I feel that it is important to understand technological trends associated with distance education and to have a clear understanding that it is the designer that needs to control the technology and not the other way around.  Technology also appeals to my business sense for the same reason.  Impending and constant change has costs associated with it and as such it is important to understand which changes to implement and which ones to wait through.  Our students understand and are drawn to technology, and for those reasons it is important to stay abreast of what appeals to their methods of learning, and understanding meaningful information. Finally, technology is what permits the implementation of an open pedagogy, making education available to those who might not otherwise be able to access it. Technology and distance education are almost synonymous however, it is important to understand how they can work together and complement each other. 


MDDE 619: Trends and Issues in Instructional Design: Prior to taking this course I was familiar with teaching f2f and developing curriculum for the classroom, but had no instructional or online design experience, and no comprehension of the issues that an instructional designer faces. The final assignment in this course gave me an opportunity to research emerging technological trends (5.1), while considering how their implementation adheres to constructivist and connectivist theories (5.2).

Artefact 3 Connections

For this assignment I collaborated with and interviewed (5.9) a colleague who is the Director of Innovation. He was able to help me understand what the word emerging implied and the trends that he was seeing in distance education. His input helped me to understand the future climate of distance education (1.2, 1.4, 6.1) and expounded on the wider implications of use, including benefits and pitfalls (1.1, 5.8) of certain technologies.

My research on emerging trends led me to the topic of MOOCs. The topic was relevant to me, my business with my husband, and my work environment at my university. In the process of my research, I came across a colleague who was participating in a Coursera MOOC - eLearning and Digital Cultures. Out of interest, I registered for the course, and the hands on reconnaissance allowed me to critically evaluate emerging technologies in the elearning context (1.5). First hand, I was able to experience the benefits and pitfalls of MOOCs. The benefits of the collaborative experience were obvious, while the sheer numbers reduced the ability to process everything and demonstrated the need to apply filters in a MOOC environment.

My proposed course redesign (4.1 – 4.3) of MDDE 619 required that I apply the researched technologies to the current course structure (3.2), and justify why their implementation would benefit the course (3.3, 3.5). In my proposal, I adhered to constructivist, collaborative, student-centred recommendations (2.7), while suggesting various changes (2.5) to course structure. These recommendations included implementing digital storytelling opportunities, interviews with Instructional Designers currently working in the field, amending the first assignment to analyze an authentic job description with connections to ibstpi competencies, and videos on Universal Design to enhance current course resources (3.5). The application of course design principles coupled with emerging technological trends aided me in more authentically understanding trends and issues in instructional design. 


Reflection Made During Artefact 3 Development

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

If designing the best product and offering it in an environment where all have equitable access to learning is the focus then that does require being a change agent.  I liked how Gerein (2005) suggested that we must "educate students for our time" (para. 22).  Everything is changing so quickly on the technology front and in order to do that the ID must be a change agent advocating for student.

Added December 9, 2015

In an interview featured in Educause, Deblois (2005) indicates that:

  • Gerein believes that the instructional designer’s “goal is to enhance the teaching and learning process…[which] needs to encompass all the peculiarities and wonders of the technology…that affect the context” (para. 18).
  • Gerein claims that “if we are truly educating students for our time, or educating the “next generation” … then we need to understand that the tools of the disciplines and of scholarship include technological tools” (Deblois, 2005, para. 22).
  • Finally, Gerein reminds us that “an essential ethical position for IT/IDs is helping faculty use the right tool for the right job. Part of that position is also communicating that technology isn’t always the right tool” (Deblois, 2005, para. 27).

Overall Conclusions 

Technology is often synonymous with distance education, however, it is important to remember that better technology doesn't dictate automatic implementation.  The technology still needs to create a better experience for the students and needs to be the right tool for the job. To implement or not to implement requires asking the question, does the technology enhance the teaching and learning process and improve the student experience?


DeBlois, P. (2005). Leadership in instructional technology and design: An interview. Educause Review Online. Retrieved from