Instructional & Performance Solutions Designer

Author: fredwbaker (Page 1 of 6)

Leading Implementation of a Data Analytics Platform

PurposeTo introduce the studio model of training to The University of Tampa, and to promote Instructional Design concepts to an interdisciplinary group of faculty and staff.
Intended AudienceFaculty/staff interested in improving the quality and instructional soundness of their courses and improving student experience.
Budget RangeLow-Intermediate. Can be done virtually or face-to-face.
Project RoleFacilitator, Analysis, Instructional Design & Development, Content Creation, Support
ToolsCourse Design & Support: Blackboard LMS, MS Office, other. Book: Dee Fink’s Creating Significant Learning Experiences


The University of Tampa (UT) subscribed to EAB’s Student Success Collaborative (SSC) in 2016. The SSC is a group of institutions using an analytics based advising platform to help focus resources on high ROI populations who would typically fall through the cracks of available services, to provide a common platform for advisors and other touch points in the students’ academic career, and to provide institutional improvement through reports utilized by the deans and provost’ office. I was brought on in 2017 after implementation had stalled. My role was to lead the implementation and rollout of the system across campus, return the implementation timeline to an acceptable range, engage the SSC Leadership Team in projects designed to expand and secure the services, and to focus on enhancing the performance of the institution regarding retention and student success. This included determining a rollout plan, and designing and delivering all aspects of implementation, rollout, and training for the system.

Design Overview

The goal of the system is to improve student success through gathering data on a range of academic career points, identifying areas of risk both for individual students and for departments and colleges, and creating and tracking intervention campaigns with students when small engagements are likely to improve their academic success (thus targeting scarce resources). Organizationally, this enhances retention and provides important insight to administration for informing strategic decisions. The goal is to establish partnerships and engagement within and across colleges, programs, and support departments toward one goal: student success.

This required organizing and negotiating relationships between departments and functions, and visualizing those proposals for decision makers. For example, the image above is a visual I made as part of a larger proposal detailing responsibilities for specific helpdesk processes among departments.


At the time I left UT and this project, the SSC was on track for rapid implementation and continuous rollout across campus. This rollout was pending the resolution of some challenges I was able to identify with the data, which required extensive consideration. Outside of the data concerns, training materials had been developed, and student success and retention were measurably improving due to the collaborative efforts of those utilizing the system. I had around 25 major projects ongoing in various stages of the implementation, including around 12 which involved collaborating with designated component leads focused on helping me customize implementation for specific departments and units. UT shifted to this tool almost exclusively for progress reports, advising, institutional improvement efforts and other services, and advisors, faculty, and staff were actively capturing notes, utilizing alerts, and engaging student success on a daily basis.

Would you like this for your organization?

I am happy to help!

Faculty Development Studio at The University of Tampa

PurposeTo introduce the studio model of training to The University of Tampa, and to promote Instructional Design concepts to an interdisciplinary group of faculty and staff.
Intended AudienceFaculty/staff interested in improving the quality and instructional soundness of their courses and improving student experience.
Budget RangeLow-Intermediate. Can be done virtually or face-to-face.
Project RoleFacilitator, Analysis, Instructional Design & Development, Content Creation, Support
ToolsCourse Design & Support: Blackboard LMS, MS Office, other. Book: Dee Fink’s Creating Significant Learning Experiences


Through many discussions with faculty while working at The University of Tampa, I recognized a need for a better foundation in course design, alignment, and other key instructional design concepts. In order to address this, I started thinking through the idea of a professional development studio aimed at instilling this knowledge through reading, discussion, and practice. The group needed to be more than just a book club, which meant supporting faculty in course redesign efforts, offering examples of best practices, and forming cohesion to make peer review and collaboration among participants common.

Upon discussing this need with the Center for Teaching and Learning, they agreed to sponsor the book purchase, and we gathered 16 interested faculty for the journey.

Design Overview

The Faculty Development Studio used a studio model, which emphasizes formative practice, project-based learning, participative and constructive feedback, and iterative improvement of artifacts. I facilitated this project through a series of face-to-face meetings over the course of two semesters, although it can be run virtually as well. It was designed with two major phases in mind.

Phase I: Foundation

In the first semester, an interdisciplinary group of 16 faculty (several from each college) read Dee Fink’s Creating Significant Learning Experiences book. The group followed a reading plan and reviewed relevant course artifacts throughout these meetings.

We identified and discussed the foundational concepts, and then applied them to the faculty’s own course artifacts. For example, we reviewed topics such as course and module level objectives and alignment, and then reviewed these elements in the course and explored the alignment between objectives, assessments, activities, and instructional materials in their actual courses.

We also identified and discussed a number of strategies, techniques, and best practices from the book, from research, and from collaborative conversations among the participants.

Phase II: Application

In the second semester, the same interdisciplinary group of faculty underwent a hands-on, in-depth course redesign process in the Spring 2016 semester. Shifting organizational roles created a need to limit the redesign efforts to core artifacts and an example unit. The faculty collaborated to redesign essential course documents (e.g., syllabus, course maps, alignment tables, etc.), and review and share what they learned. The results were robust course elements, inter-departmental collaboration, and a strong foundation which better supports the students.

The Process


This project stemmed from an identified need which emerged through experiences with faculty support, many course reviews, discussions with faculty and administration, and data gathering on the needs of faculty. I was the only Instructional Designer for the University, and was part of the Educational Technology Department at the time. This provided a first-hand perspective of faculty professional development needs.

Design & Development

Based on the needs of the faculty and staff involved, and the nature of the project objectives, it was clear that we needed to meet in a series of sessions over time. It was also important to note that this was a significant undertaking for faculty, so they needed to be aware of the demands going in. Additionally, there were a variety of activities which involved learning new concepts, and then applying those concepts directly to an existing course, which requires support throughout.

The project involved the book and a reading plan, examples of effective artifacts for redesign, discussions and guided meetings focusing on understanding and applying the concepts, activities targeted at implementing the processes and practices, a collaboration space in the LMS, and a variety of small coaching sessions. Additionally, there were opportunities for collaboration, peer review, engagement, feedback, and support throughout.


The Faculty Development Studio was a success and got a number of great comments in the feedback. Faculty not only came out with more effective course designs, but they reported more confidence in their ability to design an effective course, and appreciated the opportunity to engage around common ideas with faculty from other colleges, departments, and disciplines. A number of faculty members from this group continued to collaborate even after the Studio!

This model was also featured in blog article from the University of Wisconsin Extended Campus

Would you like this for your organization?

I am happy to help!

Exploring Instructional Technology

Experience the Course Here!!

Project Summary

Intended AudienceLearners new to the Instructional Systems Technology, Performance Technology, and Instructional Design Fields
Budget RangeLow (as-is) Can add elements as desired
Project RoleAnalysis, Instructional Design & Development, Content Creation
ToolsArticulate Rise, Audacity, PowerPoint, Adobe Photoshop


As an Assistant Professor, I taught an undergraduate course focused on introducing students to the fields of Instructional Systems and Performance Technology. For learners newly exploring our field, it can take a long time to build a functional understanding of the nuanced approaches we use to improve organizational performance. To help learners make sense of it all, I wanted to provide a small instructional experience which focuses on some of the more challenging core elements (i.e., definitions, relationships, roles).

Design Overview

In this mini-course, I used Articulate Rise to introduce learners to the field of Instructional Systems Technology. This training consists of instruction and some activities focused on the following objectives:

  • Define Instructional Technology
  • Situate Instructional Technology within Performance Technology and with consideration to Instructional Design
  • Examine the role of technology in Instructional Technology

This training is informational, so there isn’t any type of assessment built in (although there are some interaction activities). This type of training could be scaled up to become a more in-depth course itself; included as part of another training (modular); or presented as is to build engagement.

The Process


The idea stemmed from a course I was teaching as an Assistant Professor aimed at introducing students to the field. From here, I did some research and reflection on what the core of the field is, and where new learners stumble the most. I drew upon some of the foundational work of the field, including Saettler’s histories of the field, Reigeluth’s early volumes of the “green book”, and other classic and foundational texts. I also reflected on my own experience, and had some conversations with others who were both experienced and new to the field to identify important topics. I also drew upon more recent sources for information, including professional organizations, and modern reflections on technology.

Design & Development

Given the information rich subject, I wanted to play around with the presentation of fairly text heavy content in a way that reduced cognitive load and increased engagement. Rise was good for this, in that it is responsive and allows for interactive activities, bullet points that move in without being disruptive, and provides ways to break up the content without distracting from the flow (it actually enhances it!). Some challenges with the tool are limited control over specific elements, and a limited range of behaviors authors can produce.

Because I already had much of the content built out for an undergraduate course, the main task here was sorting and chunking the information, paring it down to the most essential bits (the learners engaging in this didn’t sign up for a 16 week course, after all!), and transitioning it to be suitable for a broader audience.


All in all, I am pretty happy with how it turned out, and believe there is a role for Rise in smaller projects which are focused on information delivery, require a quick turnaround time, or which may contribute to a larger course or instructional system.

Would you like this for your organization?

I am happy to help!

Blackboard Training Course—Semi-Automated & Badge Enabled

Purpose: The purpose of this project was to create a training course for learning to use the Blackboard LMS. I also used this course as the proof of concept course for the Open Badges design project.

Results: I reduced the total time for performing an evaluation from around 60 minutes to around 15 minutes (a 75% reduction) by revising the rubric based on formative evaluation feedback.

Description: I reduced the total time for performing an evaluation from around 60 minutes to around 15 minutes (a 75% reduction) by revising the rubric based on formative evaluation feedback.

Open Badge Enabled Training Course

In Phase 1 of the Open Badges Ecosystem, I led the design and development of an Open Badge enabled Blackboard Training course. Below are materials related to its development.


Student View of BB Course         Some of the achievements for the BB training Course

Mapping the Course

Here are some concept maps we were using to get our heads around the content for the Blackboard training course project. We did a content analysis of the Blackboard help videos on Youtube, and then classified them into difficulty level (beginner, intermediate, and advanced). We then grouped the videos into subcategories of corresponding to their function in the course (course building, communicating and collaborating, assessing, and data. We designed the course based on the final version of these concept maps, and then created assignments and assessments for each of the items in the concept map.

Bb Help Master Video List concept map20k foot view of classified Bb help videos

Redesign of Faculty Hybrid Training System

Purpose: As the result of my heavy involvement in helping to establish Hybrid Instruction at UT, I was awarded responsibility for leading the Hybrid Faculty Training (Faculty are not allowed to teach hybrid at UT without undergoing this training). Guided by feedback and experience with the prior system, I focused the redesign on the goals of aligning the system, streamlining processes, requiring prerequisites, and building more meaningful interaction for face-to-face sessions. Upon polling, it turned out that there was tremendous interest in the new model among faculty. With only 3 weeks to redesign the entire training, and another 2 weeks to carry it out, I immediately set about the work.

Results: The redesign was successful! The new model successfully incorporated a previous element of the training model, which subsequently saved the institution $200 per participant! Of the 25 interested faculty, eight faculty went through the training during the first session, and it received wonderful reviews by participants! Those who applied to the next stage had their courses successfully reviewed and approved by the Hybrid Course Review Committee, and are Hybrid Instructors today!


Stage 1: Pre-Requisite Training

After the redesign, the new Hybrid training model required prerequisite competencies, or entry skills, that took advantage of existing training and materials provided through the Center for Teaching & Learning. These prerequisites consisted of demonstrated competence in the Blackboard LMS (evidenced by completion of a semi-automated training course and an earned Open Badge Micro-Credential, each of which I designed in separate projects), Teaching, Instructional Design Basics, and Designing for Accessibility. This ensured a baseline of competency of entrants to NTI.

Stage 2: The “New” New Teaching Institute (NTI)

The primary focus of the redesign was on the New Teaching Institute section. I modified the NTI to replace an expensive pre-session training element that costed $200 per participant (saving $1600 on the first run), and to focus on engaging faculty in effective hybrid practices. The NTI now began by introducing participants to the new Hybrid Course Review Rubric (I previously streamlined this rubric and reduced review times from 60+ minutes to 15 minutes).

From there, the training consisted of teaching the UT Hybrid Shell, best practices and requirements for creating hybrid course artifacts, creating media, and teaching & assessment best practices for hybrid. This was all followed up by a share and tell session where faculty presented their work. For more detail, please examine this draft outline proposal for the sessions

Much of this content was online, but there were face-to-face sessions where faculty discussed the concepts, shared their practices and work, and provided feedback on each others’ work. Before moving on, participants were required to pass an NTI exit assessment project (they had to have their course 100% completed with placeholders, and 25% of actual content).

Stage 3: Hybrid Course Review Committee (HCRC) Review

The follow up section for the NTI remained the same, which required submission of the completed course to the Hybrid Course Review Committee for review by at least three committee members against the rubric. Any feedback and revisions would be shared, and adjustments made, before participants became official UT Hybrid Instructors (and were awarded an open badge in recognition)!


Some quotes from a formative evaluation survey:

  • “I’d love to see Fred Baker continue in this capacity. He is an exceptional facilitator.
  • “The face-to-face meetings helped me to, in my opinion, vastly improve my hybrid course and also gave me an opportunity to address questions I hadn’t thought of (such as captioned videos, ADA requirements, etc.)
  • “Any more than two face-to-face sessions would have felt like a waste of time. Fred was great in responding to emails and answering specific questions I had before and after the face-to-face sessions.”

The Majority of Faculty also Reported Feeling…

  • More Competent with Course Design
  • More Connected With Peers
  • That the Training was of High Value
  • Training was a Worthwhile Investment of Time and Efforts
  • They Would Recommend the New NTI
  • They Would Teach Peers Something They Learned

Course Demo (Canvas)

This course demo showcases a few of typical weeks from a course I designed and developed focusing on the relationship between Instructional Technology and Performance Technology.  I am usually very involved in my courses as well, so this demo would be buzzing with activity in an actual course!

Click the image below to experience the demo!

Dive Shop Demo Site

This is a demo site for a Dive Shop I wrote from scratch. It is still a work in progress, and is constructed using only html and css. The next steps to complete are finishing the responsive formatting for tablets, and adding sub-pages.

Click the image below to experience the demo!

Options on Website

One Touch Email System Prototype

This is a demo branching scenario I did in Twine for a One Touch Email System. The idea was to have a fun way learn the best way to sort some emails and engage other systems for the action items they produce.

Click the picture below to work through the scenario prototype!

HTML, CSS, & JavaScript

I have been dabbling in simple HTML and CSS for years as needed for different projects and endeavors, and always found it intriguing. Finally, I decided to formally learn to code as a Front-End Web Developer. Building out my skills as a developer will pair with and extend my expertise in Instructional Design in a myriad of ways. For example, understanding front end web development will enable me to provide more customization in elearning efforts, support implementation efforts of projects and initiatives, better collaborate with institutions and organizations, and more.

View my progress at!

Meaningful Comparisons

The first Weekly eLearning Heroes Challenge was to show meaningful comparisons with the provided airplane images and information.

I tackled this by creating a semi-minimalist design showing comparisons between an individual plane against the shadows of the remaining planes, and through providing the data on height, width, and depth for each plane.

Below is the original and my rework. Click the image below to experience the demo!

Airplanes with examples of data
eLearning Heroes example, airplanes with data
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