Adjuncts are the wizards of the higher education world … taking on unknown challenges … creating magical moments … presenting what we love … and sometimes doing it with only our pencil wands for assistance. We are frequently asked to present unique “spells/lessons/assignments” with little prep time and sometimes in murky conditions. I am excited to be able to bring these talents into the Instructional Design space.
For many of us, this is not our side hustle; this is THE hustle. We piecemeal careers together by working at multiple institutions simultaneously. We flit to and from campus with our portable offices, hoping to stay one step ahead of what is due tomorrow … and we do it because we want to because it is what we need to do to thrive. And I know it is time to explore something less frenetic. I know a career as an instructional designer will also allow me to help a company succeed as well.
I did not initially come to my career in higher education intentionally; it started with a call asking if I could cover a class … and since I was on campus, could I cover this or that class as well. And I loved it! It is invigorating to help students discover, excel, and sometimes accept the world around them.
All of this has seriously impacted my educational philosophy. I know I need to deliver the best possible experience in a way that will resonate with my learners, whether I am part of their education team for one semester or several … in person or online.
The fields of instructional design, education, and communication are constantly reinventing themselves. I’ve been fortunate enough to experience the transition from the eyes of an agency account executive, a corporate communication manager, and now an educator. This has worked to my advantage as I’ve developed a broad and varied skill set that is both vast and deep. Be it learning the tricks to make the LMS sing, keeping up with Adobe’s constant product tweaks, uncovering new tools to do my job more effectively, or tracking the changes in social media analytics, and I’ve loved the discovery process and how it can help my students.
Teaching has taught me that there is little I can’t figure out how to do by tomorrow. This adaptability is a skill I have tried to instill in my students … to learn how to learn … to take on education, problems, and technology and figure it out. What our students learn today may or not be available when they graduate. Who knows what the mode de jour might be … that is OK; they can handle it. We’ve helped them learn how.
Working through the pandemic helped us re-discover our passion for connection and experiment with new methodologies and delivery platforms … some of it worked … some did not so much. We are so lucky to be teaching during this time of reinvention. We are the forefathers of the education model to come, and it is daunting, exhilarating, and essential. It is up to us to help our learners find their best future.
Do I know what the future of instructional design, education, or communication holds? No, but that is OK … I’ll learn how to do it by tomorrow.