Instructional Design: Online Maker Space

Planning Your Publication Project

Topics: Visual Communication, Graphic Design, Marketing, Research, Planning

Audience: College Students

Goal: To use technology to guide learners as they research and plan a publication before the design process.

Reflection: More than 500 unique visitors from multiple universities have accessed the maker space to help successfully create a comprehensive project brief. For my makerspace project, I created a virtual space that students can access at multiple universities with strictly online and on-ground learners.  Each class creates a publication project – a travel guide or a magazine.  All of the projects begin with a project brief, so streamlining this assignment into one place makes working with all students much more accessible.  I recorded a video to walk the students through the project. The maker space offers more background information and samples we often cover in class – but my online learners miss. 

“Something I learned about the design process by completing the project brief is that developing every design element takes a lot of time and patience. Paying attention to the little details is essential as that can bring your whole publication together. I also learned that there are a lot of resources out there that can help you find inspiration. “ Erin C, student

“By completing the project brief, I learned that the design process takes hours, if not days, to be completed to a satisfactory level. Not giving yourself ample time to get things done will result in lower-quality work and could cause much more frustration than necessary to complete a project. There are also a lot of different factors that go into the design process, like picking the correct fonts and color schemes and choosing appropriate layouts to ensure legibility for your audience.” Ashlee R, student


“This is beautiful! Great job on the YouTube maker space video – and I like the addition of your recorded video. YouTube makes learning fun; kids and adults too use it for entertainment, so we might as well show them how to use it to be productive learners! YouTube covers multiple learning styles, too. You’ve earned full credit for this assignment.”

M. Beckmann, Instructor

Lesson Overview

Assignment Instructions

The final project for this course is the construction of a Maker Space and creating the documentation. The makerspace must include:

  • Comprehensive instructions
  • Your choice of delivery methods
  • Assessment criteria
  • Tools and materials lists
  • Budget

Lesson Objectives

Students will examine a makerspace with video tutorials and written instructions to walk them through creating a project brief for their final publication project.  This exploration process should help them to consider several elements of the design process, including:

  • Define the target audience identification and develop a member persona
  • Integrate competitive market research for design considerations
  • Experimenting with typography and color scheme pairing tools
  • Page planning with a -flat plan storyboard
  • Construct a mood board
  • Gathering research and Inspiration samples for typography, colors, sample page layout styles

Evaluation Overview

Evaluation / Assessment: Rubric

Formative Assessment Discussion Questions:

POST – A copy of your project brief as a PDF

WRITE – What did you learn about the design process by completing the project brief? How do you plan to incorporate in-class tutorials and CIAB lessons into your publication? How will you incorporate the idea of “stealing like an artist” to help you deal with “blank page paralysis”?

RESPOND – After Completing Your Initial Discussion Post — View Your peer contributions; and then, Comment on your overall impression of at least three of your classmates’ submissions.

Be sure to use the TAG method as you comment

  • T- Tell them something you liked
  • A — Ask a question
  • G — Give them a suggestion

Teacher Tips

  • Finding ways to get the students to “step away from the screen” can be a stumbling block. 
  • By offering a variety of creative challenges, the learners can assess the world around them by compiling mood boards and a project brief for their publication project.
  • Keeping the playing field level can be an obstacle.  Some students will go all out, and others will not put in the effort to gather supplies. 
  • For supplies, you will need them to collect magazines, brochures, junk mail, packaging, inspiration images, and color samples.  They may also visit a store to find “packages” they like and then learn about the color scheme and fonts used.
  • Each student is given the same criteria for assessment, but the end result will be unique. 
  • In the end, they will submit an electronic file, but they can take a photo of their end project that was created off-screen.
  • The PPT template guides the student submissions and makes them uniform. 
  • The video tutorials help the learners to understand mood boards, their use, and their development.
  • The more work they put in on the planning end, the easier it will be to deal with blank page paralysis later down the line. 

Lesson Design Highlights

Project Introduction Video


  • Computer with internet access
  • Mobile device with a camera


  • WordPress website to host project
  • YouTube channel to host tutorials
  • Physical inspiration materials to be gathered by the student:
    • Brochures
    • Magazines
    • Travel guides
    • Junk mail
    • Packaging samples
    • Paint samples


  • PPT or Google Slides
  • PDF Reader/Maker
  • Snipping tool for screenshots

What’s Next?

Let’s find a way to work together … Contact Me