Needs Assessment On Current Resources
A needs assessment is necessary to understand the resources available to instructors during their course development progress, such as resources for instructional technology, multimedia, eLearning, and Instructional Design. This will help Instructional Designers understand both the quantity and quality of resources so that there is an understanding of how to design the resource page.
Once a needs assessment has been completed, it is essential to organize all of the resources available to teachers for course development. There are many university pages devoted to teaching resources, such as Centers for Innovating and Teaching, Library Resources, Course Development Standards, Teaching Expectations, the list goes on and on. Organizing assets will provide a comprehensive context for what resources the university currently has available for faculty. These assets should be saved in folders so it is easy to find them when compiling assets for the resource page. Any cloud sharing tool like Google Drive, Box, or Microsoft OneDrive is sufficient for this step. The Instructional Designer can share this needs assessment with multiple departments to ensure that no resource has been left out.
Connecting with online learning and teaching experts will allow for the emergence of data to inform universities of how assets are being used and the tools most helpful for faculty success. Therefore, it is essential for Instructional Designers to develop a qualitative survey because the data collection will highlight faculty needs and desires for additional resources during online learning and teaching. The survey should ask instructors about the current assets the university provides that are helpful to them in their position.
Additionally, the survey should allow for short responses from faculty that inquire about resources they wish they could have to help them be more effective as educators. By reviewing faculty responses, this allows Instructional Designers to understand what resources still need to be developed and resources faculty may not know that the university offers. This allows Instructional Designers to help locate external, free professional development resources available to teachers if the university does not currently have that on file as a resource. Thus, it would be helpful to quantitatively track the most frequently asked questions, from faculty to Instructional Designers, that are received during course development. By doing so, it will generate an ongoing FAQ list for the Instructor Resource Tool page and allow Instructional Designers to target reoccurring issues and themes in online teaching.
Displaying Essential Categories
Because online teaching and learning are constantly changing, it is important to recognize the essential categories that are most helpful to faculty based on the survey feedback and FAQs. Reviewing these essential categories will allow for an emergence of what categories faculty use the most before, during, and after teaching, along with supplementary resources faculty use as well. Thus, it is also important to display at the top of the Resource page the most essential categories based on the frequency of use and the most prominent tools and resources faculty frequently use. For instance, if faculty need the most assistance with course development resources, this should be a category that is displayed near the top of the page.
While categorizing the resources for the page, it is important to ensure there are visual icons that represent each category so faculty can easily locate the resource they’re looking for. Additionally, it is best to alphabetize resources based on the title so it is easily readable. Lastly, it is important to keep the Instructor Resource page to one page (maximum). Anything beyond a one-page document of resources will become too much of a search and find and defeats the purpose of having the Instructor Resource page. When designing an Instructor Resource page, simplicity is key.
Designing The Instructor Resource Page
Designing an Instructor Resource page does not require universities to pay for expensive sites to host this Instructor Resource page. It can simply be added to the menu of a university for instructor resources, and created within a Google Doc or even on Microsoft Word. Whatever page the Instructor Resource page is designed on, it is recommended to develop a template that is consistent with the look and feel of where it will be found. For instance, if the Instructor Resource page will be linked on the university’s site for Teacher Resources, the Resource page should have the colors, font style, and images that are consistent with the design of the site.
Then, it is important to create a folder of all the assets that have naming conventions that are consistent with the categories that have been named. Next, it is critical that the titles of all the resources are consistent with how it is named in the folders. This will eliminate any confusion in the event any of those resources need updates so anyone who views the folder will know how to locate and update them. Finally, it is important that all images, icons, graphics, and titles meet accessibility standards before publication.
Final Technical Inspection And Management
After all the links are appropriately linked on the Resource page, it is important to conduct a final technical inspection that checks that all links are appropriately linked and open in a new window, accessibility standards are met, and resource titles are consistent on the page and in the folders. All links and assets should be kept in the Assets folder as updates will continue to occur to the page. Thus, it is important to keep consistent naming conventions while uploading new files from the Assets folder to the page to ensure there are no links that are broken or added incorrectly.
Developing an Instructor Resource page that is simplified will help faculty before, during, and after course development. Conducting a needs assessment, organizing current assets, using data, displaying essential categories, designing the resource page that meets accessibility standards, and conducting a final technical inspection are imperative to design a simplified, Instructor Resource page. It is important to remember to keep any resource page to one page so it is easily readable in order to find resources. This will minimize any frustrations during and after course development, which will in turn positively impact the teaching and learning experience.