Instructional & Performance Solutions Designer

Category: Teaching & Training

Teaching Philosophy

I love teaching! It’s a wonderful opportunity to help students connect and grow in meaningful ways. As an Instructional Designer, teaching takes on a special role because it is an application of my discipline, and provides opportunities to systematically improve at the craft.

My teaching practice centers around three goals:

  1. Creating human-centered learning experiences,
  2. Focusing on helping students “learn to be” through application and practice of real-world activities, and
  3. Building skill in formative appraoches through group critique and discussion of artifacts and content.

Creating Human-Centered Learning Experiences

There are many ways to establish human-centered learning environments. Each is founded on recognition of learners as responsible human beings capable of contributing in holistic ways to learning and development in class. I work to establish this recognition both through the types of interaction promoted in class, and through specific practices that enhance learner agency. For example, I may have students select from a range of assignments through learning contracts;  allow them to distribute points to course assignments based on where they perceive their strong areas (emphasizing a paper over a project, for example); provide guidelines and a framework which enables them to craft course assignments around self-selected interests in relevant content areas; allowing for self-selection for teams and roles within those teams (within guidelines); and other practices enabling students to more thoroughly engage with each other and the content on their own terms.

Helping Students “Learn to Be” Through Application and Practice

I also encourage students to “learn to be” as they start growing within their respective disciplines. As students start to interact with content and with others in this learning space, I encourage them to think of themselves in the roles they will eventually take on (e.g., designer, teacher, biologist, lawyer, etc.). The goal is for them to begin practicing the thinking and skill set required of the roles they aspire to. This requires intentionality in designing the course and assignments, and supporting the learners in internalizing concepts and integrating them within their own lives in meaningful ways. I seek to do this by building real-world style assignments, encouraging meaningful dialogue and interactions, enabling learner agency through design, and pushing for critical reflection on how the content fits into the learners’ own lives. A tremendous shift occurs when students start thinking of themselves in terms of who they will become as professionals, rather than simply as a student taking a class for credit. The shift often encourages students to engage with each other and the content in more authentic ways, and the hands-on projects and reflection helps them build new ways of engaging each other in a social learning setting. In the end, I want the learners to find their own voices, and to have a safe place to use them.

Building Skill in Formative Approaches to Learning

Encouraging students to engage in formative evaluation of a variety of their peers artifacts builds skill in critical thinking and communication through providing opportunities to analyze, evaluate, and critique the work of others. Students learn to critically reflect on their own work through examining the work of others, and to engage in dialogue about the work which involves providing and receiving feedback. My teaching practice primarily pursues what would be considered constructionist (Papert) and social constructivist learning practices, although, I try to blend the strengths of other theoretical perspectives as well. This often involves developing studio style environments where learners form micro-communities engaged in similar work with the intention to improve. Through engaging in feedback sessions and reflective discussions, students learn to adapt and improve their work. This approach recognizes the iterative nature of learning, and emphasizes collaboration, interaction, reflection, and the importance of formative feedback and iterative improvement. It situates the students inside learning contexts alongside others in similar circumstances. This allows the instructor and peers to serve as models from which the student learns through observation and interaction.

Concluding Thoughts

These statements reflect an ideal. Because I have personally experienced some of the inevitable challenges in teaching,  and made the needed adjustments required for effective learning to take place, they are also tempered by reality. I think that all students are capable of learning, and can become passionate about any subject—but they must have ownership if they are to truly care, be motivated, be involved, and stay engaged. I see it as my job to help learners become passionate about their field and competent in its practices, and as my calling to help them grow to become the best reflections of themselves.

Presentation

If you are interested, the presentation below expands on my design process and methods for building community and engagement in classes.

TItle Slide for Teaching Philosophy Overview

Student Comments

Here are some student comments about my teaching and influence on them. I am grateful to work in a capacity that allows me to touch the lives of these students in such a way. ( Please Note: Typos from originals have been corrected here).

“Dr. Baker is an excellent instructor. He is willing to work with his students and really he really goes the extra mile to ensure they succeed!”

I really appreciate this whole exchange. It’s made me think outside of the box of the constructs of this class, and more globally about how evaluation works in different environments and conditions. . . that’s something I’ve always appreciated about your classesthere’s always this opportunity to look beyond the project into how this all would work in the ‘real world.

“Baker is always great. He is kind and truly wants his students to succeed.”

I just want to tell you how much I’ve enjoyed being a student in your classes. You push us in a way that makes us realize what we can do without feeling defeated by our limitations. These project classes have been such a great combination of challenging and fun. I think as students we’ve always felt supportedI know that in conversations with classmates, that has come up multiple times in discussions about how difficult this particular semester is with pandemic-related factors.” [This comment was shared Spring 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic hit]

“I cannot say enough good things about this course. It kicked my rear-end, and I loved every minute of it. It was difficult, the professor was stellar, the learning curve was steep, but incredibly rewarding. I will recommend this course over and over again, and look forward to more courses with Dr. Baker.”

“Dr. Baker is a great Professor and was very helpful and understanding throughout the semester. I really enjoyed the course!”

You were a great professor and really sparked excitement for me in this career field.”

“This is my second Dr. Baker class, and I can tell that this is his area of passion within ID/IT. He has encouraged a class culture of excitement about the subject; additionally, this class has required the exploration of tools that we, as future instructional designers, will need to know how to utilize. The requirement that we create online portfolios was especially useful as this will be a necessity in our future careers.”

“I thoroughly enjoy Dr. Baker’s classes! He comes up with creative and exciting ways for us to show our knowledge…”

“Strong performance as an instructor. This was one of my favorite classes. Dr. Baker was also very understanding when I was sick.”

“Dr. Baker is a great teacher and his class was given in a way that not only was fun and engaging but very informative. I learned a lot and was able to engage with my classmates more than usual in an online class. I liked his discussions as well as his interviews he had us conduct and explore on our own. He did a wonderful job.”

“Dr. Baker is the best professor I have ever had! He is knowledgeable, fun, and engaging!”

“Professor Baker is an excellent teacher. He cares about his students and wants to make sure they have a successful learning experience.”

“Instructor was wonderful.”

“Doing a great job. Good course!”

“Dr. Baker was actively involved in our discussions and that is much appreciated. His feedback was thoughtful and encouraging.”

“Dr.Baker did a wonderful job adjusting to the technical difficulties, and the Hurricane. He communicated well and addressed all issues I had.”

“…thank you for a great semester, I really appreciate how much detail and time you took in setting this course up and making your expectations clear. I hope to have you as a professor in the future!”

“This term, I really enjoyed our student-to-professor email conversations. I haven’t engaged in this much discussion with another professor in previous courses, and I found that I really enjoyed it.”

Thanks for a great class!”

“To Dr. Baker, thank you for being an awesome instructor! My favorite of the program by far!”

“I want to take this opportunity to say thank you for everything you’ve done for me and also the entire class. I’ve really learned a lot from the course.”

“You are the best!….I can’t thank you enough for the courses you have developed. It was very engaging, even from a distance, and that’s what I’m hoping to achieve…I appreciate your guidance. Thanks again!”

“I would very much appreciate your feedback [on my dissertation proposal]—your original feedback was fantastic!”

“Dr. Baker, Thank you for being so understanding and generous! This certainly has helped me relax a bit…I also wanted to let you know I included the first project from this class, the project plan, as part of my portfolio submission for the position and the hiring manager was extremely impressed. She asked if I planned on trying to actually propose it to leadership, because she loved it. So thank you for giving me an opportunity to shine with some realistic assignments!”

“I was so happy about my discovery and wanted to say THANK YOU for videos that you provided in class. It’s really helpful for a student like me. “

Teaching Evaluations

The table below summarizes my “Overall Assessment of Instructor” Scores for all of the courses I have taught at full time load as the sole instructor.

Instructor Evaluations

TermCourseEnrollmentOverall Instructor Rating
FA 19EME 6626 Emerging Technology Systems24*4.88
SU 19EME 6607 Implementation of Instructional Technology Projects38*4.83
SU19EME 6458 Distance Learning Policy & Planning164.78
SP 19EDG 3661 Adult Learning Theory & Curriculum Development84.75
SP 19EME 6414C Web-Based Instruction154.74
SP 19EME 6415 Designing Instructional Courseware214.29
FA 18EME 6458 Distance Learning Policy & Planning64.66
FA 18EME 3351 Introduction to Instructional & Performance Technology224.0

Overall Average
4.62

*Combined Sections; All Listed Courses From Full Time Teaching Positions

Courses Taught

Faculty/Staff Who Had The Biggest Difference in Your College Experience (2018-2019)

Three of our department’s four UWF Student Votes at Commencement in First Year as Assistant Professor

Additional Vote in 2019 Fall Commencement

Favorite Instructor (2009)

ITT-Tech, Student Voted, Institution-Wide

Courses Taught

University of West Florida

Instructor

EME 6062- Applied Instructional Technology Investigations; SP 20

Graduate Asynchronous Online Course. Explores Past, Present, and Future Instructional Technology Research, Paradigms, and Underlying Theory. Explores Quantitative, Qualitative, and Mixed Methods Approaches.

EME 6626- Emerging and Innovative Technology Systems; FA 19-Current

Graduate Asynchronous Online Course. Explores Emerging/Innovative Technology Integration as Instructional Strategies.

EME 6607- Implementation of Instructional Technology Projects; SU 19-Current

Graduate  Asynchronous Online Course. Explores Technology Integration and Instructional Technology Project Management processes and planning.

EME 6414- Web-Based Instructional Tools for Educators; SP 19-Current

Graduate  Asynchronous Online Course. Explores Design and Development of Web Based Instruction Using a Variety of Technologies. Includes Design and Development of Multiple Units of Instruction.

EME 6415- Digital Video for Instruction; SP 19-Current

Graduate Asynchronous Online Course. Focuses on Creating Instructional Video that Considers Alignment, Techniques, and Purposes. Practical Applications of The Concepts Through Video Creation is Included.

EDG 3661- Adult Learning Theory and Curriculum Development; SP 19-Current

Undergraduate Asynchronous Online Course. Examines Characteristics of Adult Learners and Their Impact on Design and Development of Education and Training Programs.

EME 3351- Introduction to Instructional and Performance Technology; FA 18-Current

Undergraduate Asynchronous Online Course. Examines and Contrasts the IDT and HPT fields, and Includes Projects Culminating in a Large Reference Guide for the Fields.

EME 6458- Distance Learning and Policy Planning, QM Certified; SU 18-Current

Graduate Asynchronous Online Course. Covers Distance Learning from an Administrator’s Perspective, Includes Philosophy of Distance Learning and a Research Paper.

James Madison University

Instructor

EDUC 641-Learning Theories and Instructional Models; FA17-SU18

Graduate Synchronous Online Course. Covers Learning Throughout the Lifespan and Includes Final Theory to Practice Paper

University of South Alabama

Instructor

ISD410-Organization and Coordination of Training Programs; Fa18

Undergraduate Course Online. Covers Major Concepts in Creating and Leading a Training Program, Project Management, Creation of Artifacts, and a Final Instructional Design Training Project.

ISD320-Training Interventions; SP 17

Undergraduate Course Online. Covers Major Concepts in Training Interventions, Creation of Artifacts, and a Final Instructional Design Training Project.

Boise State University

Instructor

EDTECH597-Introduction to Openness; SU 16

Graduate Course Online. Covers Major Areas of Openness (Open Access Research, Open Source Software, Open Teaching & Learning, Open Content, etc.) as they relate to Instructional Design 

The University of Tampa

Instructor

ASK 100; FA 17-SP 18

Focuses on Academic Skills, Including Creating Effective Organizational Skills & Academic Practices, and Adopting Useful Tools and Strategies to Support Academic Success. 

BAC 101/102 FA 17-FA17

First Year Experience (FYE) Course Focused on College Success, Integration into University Culture, Campus Technologies and Partners, and Academic Development 

GTW101-Gateways; SP 18

Baccalaureate Experience Course, Covers Technology & Campus Systems, College Success Strategies, and Introductory College Concepts 

University of South Alabama

Instructor (Non-Primary)

IDE 510-Educational Research & Evaluation

Covers Educational Research: Data Collection Methods, Research Designs, Research Proposals, Types of Research, Evaluation Methods 

EPY 502-Psychological Principles of Learning       

Covers Basic Learning Principles: Psychological Theories of Learning, Influential Theorists, Important Models & Processes

ISD 641-Performance Systems Technology

Covers the Basics of Performance Improvement: Drivers, Systems, Interventions, Relationship to Instructional Design

ISD 621-Instructional Design 

Covers Instructional Design Basics: ADDIE Phases, Dick, Carey & Carey Model, General Instructional Design Principles & Processes

ISD 622- Advanced Instructional Design

Covers Advanced Instructional Design Concepts: In Depth ADDIE Phases, Formal Reports, Instructional Materials, Influential Research

IDE 620- Quantitative Methods I 

Covers Introductory Statistics for Research: Measures of Central Tendency, Significance Testing, Data Organization, Basic Statistical Analyses

Grading Teaching Assistant

IDE 510-Educational Research and Evaluation

Covers Educational Research: Data Collection Methods, Research Designs, Research Proposals, Types of Research, Evaluation Methods 

Non-Grading Teaching Assistant

IDE 650-Instructional Techniques

Covers Models of Teaching: History and State of Teaching Models, Instructional and Learning Strategies, Types and Models of Teaching, and More.    

IDE 581-Hypermedia Tools

Covers Technology for Instructional Design: Professional Skills, Digital Resumes, Screen Capture, Video Editing, Web Conferencing, Photoshop, and More.    

ITT Technical Institute

Instructor

GE 273-Microeconomics 

General Concepts in Microeconomics: Supply & Demand, Equilibrium, Capital & Substitute Goods

TB 332-Professional Procedures & Portfolio Development                    Professional & Portfolio Development for Work: Resume & Cover Letter Development, Hiring Process, Interviewing Techniques, Etiquette

TB 133-Strategies for the Developing Student

Strategies for Student Success & Development: Study Skills, Note Taking, Introspection, Developing Proactive Learning Habits