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DCE Magazine

Winter 2022

In the Words of a Graduate:

Karen Stivers, E-Learning Instructional Design

Why did you choose the E-Learning Instructional Design certificate?

To make a long story short, I was transitioning careers after a big relocation. I knew that I didn’t want to go back into teaching full-time, but I wanted to use my teaching skills in some capacity. Two of my colleagues had gone through the program and…recommended that I do the same. I ultimately settled on this program because of the length of the terms, the relative cost, the course topics, and the opportunities to do hands-on work with authoring tools.

What did you enjoy most about your experience in the program?

What I enjoyed most was feeling that I was learning directly through the content but also indirectly through the modeling. The instructors were good models of how to facilitate interactive asynchronous teaching. In addition, the assignments could be tailored to my interests, expertise, work, etc. I never felt like I was doing something just for school. My projects were able to serve a dual purpose, whether it be for work, my future portfolio, etc.

What was your favorite course in the program, and why?

It’s hard to say, as each course had its own merits. I really enjoyed the Principles of E-Learning Instructional Design course because Dr. Don [Shannon] consistently curated examples of really great e-learning modules week after week. They set the stage for what to strive for. I also enjoyed Introduction to Designing and Developing Interactive E-Learning Courses because it presented some very innovative ways to leverage the online environment. The practicum also stood out to me because of the helpful shortcuts in designing the look and feel of a project.

What impact did earning your E-Learning Instructional Design certificate have on your career?

While going through the program, I worked at a community college in a position just intended to pay the bills. One day, the college posted a few job openings, including one for an instructional designer and one for a manager of instructional design projects. With the applications, I had to create an instructional video. Had I not gone through the program, I wouldn’t have known how to do that in a way that made my video stand out. And that’s exactly what happened. My application and video stood out, and I was invited to interview. I was surprised by how many opportunities I had to reference the concepts I learned in the program. Then I got the call-back. I wasn’t being offered the instructional design job. I was being offered the “manager of instructional design projects” job. I am now two months into my new position, and I feel that this is exactly where I envisioned myself being when I first started out on my instructional design journey.

Learn more about the E-Learning Instructional Design Certificate Program.