These two projects serve as examples of instances where I have demonstrated the skills and knowledge necessary to plan and manage a design function or instructional project.

Online Learning "Program Hub"

EDIT 7550e: Management of Instructional Technology Projects, Dr. Branch, Summer 2022

An eLC resource bank, created for the University of Georgia's Office of Online Learning, to host and present resources for program coordinates as they work to develop and disseminate common language, formats, policies, and procedures for degree programs and certificates overseen by the University's OOL.

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Applying Business Skills

This project management course gave us the opportunity to complete instructional design projects from a management perspective, with a focus on intentional planning of how the project itself will be organized and implemented. This was a new experience as typically we focus our planning on the design itself or the implementation of our chosen interventions, not the system and processes we will use to create our interventions. For this project created for the University's Office of Online Learning, my team and I had to budget for the necessary resources for this project. This required us to accurately estimate the time it would take for use to complete each step of the project, to determine all of the software and hardware equipment that would be needed to complete the task, and to evaluate the cost of our own labor. This was the first time I had to look at one of these design projects from a business-oriented perspective. We also chose to use the "waterfall" method of project management, a method commonly used in corporate settings, because it suited the limited time frame and quick turn arounds needed for our deliverables.

Managing the Team

I served as the team's project manager, which meant that I was tasked with communicating with our client, organizing the team itself, and contributing to the design and development of the final eLC modules. To facilitate this management, I set up weekly meetings with the team members and prepared each meeting with an agenda so that we would be able to focus on the necessary tasks for the current sprint. I would use some of this time to relay information from the client to my team members, and then we would spend the majority of the meeting strategizing for the upcoming sprint. I would delegate responsibilities from the current deliverable or report to team members to spread out the workload and set deadlines for the individual components. By coming to each meeting with a plan already in place, we could accomplish a lot of work and leave each meeting knowing exactly what to do and when to have it done. As the project manager, I was also in contact with the general manager, Dr. Branch, so this allowed me to ask questions on behalf of the whole group and come to each meeting prepared to clarify expectations for team members.

Managing the Project

Our "waterfall" approach was critical because of the quick turn around time and large number of deliverables that were expected of this instructional design project. Essentially, we had a significant report due to the general manager each week while working toward completing the eLC modules for our client. I established weekly sprints where we would kick off with a meeting that I would lead where expectations, responsibilities, and deadlines were established. The team would then break apart and work on our individual pieces, all of which would be submitted to me by a set deadline. I would use the final day or two of each sprint to edit the individual contributions for consistency and clarity, combine and format them into a single document, and then send that document out for final approval and signatures from our team members and client. In this way, I could control the flow of deliverables to the general manager and the client and ensure that they would only have to interact with a final and polished product. I was also able to serve as an individual contributor to the team rather than solely managing and directing the labor of my team members.

Lessons Learned

Project management is a major part of instructional design and while many of us may only work under project managers, understanding how a project can or should be managed gives us a better perspective on how our role fits into the entire team. I learned how impactful it can be to come to a meeting with a prepared plan and agenda, as we were able to work quickly and efficiently without wasting time. I also gained experience in remaining in constant contact with multiple stakeholders and team members to keep everyone informed.

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Chromebook Pedagogy K12 Technology Integration Plan

EDIT 6320e - Technology Planning and Integration, Dr. Kopcha, Spring 2022

A plan detailing a the creation, implementation, and evaluation of a professional development program for high school teachers to develop specific pedagogical skills and strategies for using Chromebooks in lessons. This plan addresses procedures for disseminating and managing the program, potential funding sources, delegation of responsibilities, and evaluation of the potential impact.

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Planning for Cost

It is well known that funding for K12 projects is difficult since money is limited for public schools. As a result, a major focus of my design for this technology plan involved finding ways to find the majority of the initiative through existing sources and means. This hypothetical integration plan applies to a school system where I formerly worked so I am familiar with some of the budgeting that is used for professional development and leadership training in the school. In this program, I have planned to redirect some existing expenses which are not being used efficiently to help with the cost of this professional development. By paying teachers to create and run educational sessions for other teachers, I am ensuring that those redirected funds remain internal and stay within the school and community rather than being spent on an external developer or presenter. This should also help to alleviate concerns regarding compensation and payment that teacher leaders are likely to bring up if this plan were enacted. By strategically redirecting existing funds and keeping development internal, I can keep costs limited and address an anticipated barrier.

Setting Clear Responsibilities

Public school employees already have many responsibilities and are often loathe to take on additional roles. While the use of funding to compensate the participating teacher leaders will help alleviate these concerns, this does not address the limited time they will have to accomplish the project's goals. I have created the plan with very clear responsibilities for teacher leaders, instructional technology employees, and administrators. There are also very clear guidelines on what deliverables should look like, how long professional development sessions should last, and even template agendas for these professional development sessions. Clear responsibilities and expectations will not only increase the quality of the final deliverables, but will also alleviate stress and confusion on the part of teacher leaders whose time is already in short supply.

Systemic Management

I wanted this plan to be sustainable and systemic. School systems have a somewhat frequent cycle of teachers in the building either due to retirements, relocations, or teacher attrition. If this professional development plan is going to succeed in impacting student experiences, it must reach all teachers and must do so regularly as the faculty members change. I created a systemic and cyclical program, based on periods of development, implementation, and reevaluation, that takes place over a school year and is integrated into the typical routines and patterns of this particular school district. In this way, the program is set to function cyclically and should be poised to operate on a yearly basis as long as the procedures for evaluation are followed.

Lessons Learned

Planning for a program to be implemented and managed requires the designer to understand the system in which the program will exist. I gained a much greater appreciation for the complexity of public school systems and for the systems thinking approach. Because I set out to create a program that could be self-sustaining, systemic, and self-regulating, I had to think about designing the program from the ground-up to be managed and organized by someone else since I would not be physically present to actively manage the program. This was a unique project and a challenging approach to take, but it gave me greater insight into the importance of designing within systems.

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