Kevin Forgard: Instructional Designer

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Reflections on Title III

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For those of you who may not be familiar with Title III, it is a Federal Department of Education grant program designed to support higher education institutions in expanding their capacity to serve underprivileged students by increasing student support services and academic services. See http://www2.ed.gov/programs/iduestitle3a/index.html

As of September 30, 2013 the Title III grant I have been a part of comes to a close. Its been a heck of a ride I must say and one that taught me quite of bit about being an instructional designer involved in systemic change initiatives. It has also provided me some excellent insight into how community colleges operate.

As I started to write this blog posting I realized that there is an essay to come of this. So, I’ll outline some of what I had learned from this project:

  • Instructional design theory is very helpful for programmatic changes, but not every project requires a following a model lock-step
  • Evaluation is the key to everything you do, so track, record, measure, or just reflect on every piece of output developed that leads towards the grant’s goal
  • Developing faculty rapport is essential to a project’s success and builds capacity over time
  • Systemic change is hard work that at times shows little rewards. Don’t let a negative attitude get in the way and keep up
  • Learn to leverage resources to help meet goal from administrative support to vice-presidents
  • Be aware of the technology and train stakeholders in using the technology to serve the grant
  • Understand that the relationship between a treatment (cause) and its result (effect) is most likely wide with many confounding variables potentially getting in the way. Its not research, its evaluation that demonstrates success or need for further change.
  • Be frustrated, but don’t give up hope!

The good news about all the work and struggle is that through it all, the grant made an impact. It was a daunting task that is still met with some resistance, but with the end data showing positive change, its nice to see how the 100’s of things I had done over the past couple of years have resulted in something positive.

Thanks to the Title III Team at Bristol Community College!

I promise to write something more detailed soon.

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