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Vanderbilt University Launches an Instructional Design Support Center for Faculty

First-of-its-kind instructional design support center will provide real-time services to help faculty transition to online teaching

NASHVILLE, Tenn., July 14, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Vanderbilt University today announced the launch of a new instructional design support service, available this summer and fall to all faculty, designed to provide concierge-level support to help faculty transition to teaching online. The university will tap independent instructional design firm iDesign, which has worked with more than 100 institutions to design, build and support award-winning online courses.

"Recent months have reaffirmed the critical importance of faculty-led innovation, resilience, and collaboration, especially in today's difficult and unusual circumstances," said Tracey George, Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs at Vanderbilt University. "As educators and students alike navigate uncertain times, this on-demand support center will provide an invaluable service for educators at Vanderbilt, helping them build their capacity, overcome hurdles to online instruction, and refine their teaching practice in an online or hybrid teaching environment."

The Instructional Design Support Center is designed to ease the transition to online teaching for faculty and, by extension, improve course quality for students. The center will help meet the diverse needs of faculty—whose course loads, disciplines, and experience-level with online teaching vary widely.

Over the course of the summer, all Vanderbilt faculty will receive access to a hub of resources to support online teaching and course design, a la carte access to instructional design support services and troubleshooting, and templates for use within Vanderbilt's learning management system.

An April survey found that more than 50 percent of faculty agreed that greater access to digital resources would be most helpful to support online instruction, while nearly half pointed to online resource hubs with information about how to quickly transition to online learning.

"In the wake of COVID-19, we're continuing to see increased demand for resources that can help ease the faculty transition to online instruction—whether they are seasoned online educators or teaching their first online course," said Paxton Riter, co-founder and chief executive officer at iDesign." This work is about equipping faculty with the back-end support to master the fundamentals of online teaching and translate their capacity for mentoring, supporting, and educating students into the digital world."

Through the partnership with iDesign, Vanderbilt faculty will also gain access to the company's popular Online Teaching Bootcamp, an immersive course sequence designed to provide faculty with an immediate primer on best practices in remote teaching. Through the short-form courses, faculty and other higher education professionals will be able to access turnkey teaching resources, practice examples, and proven techniques used by experienced online instructors.

About iDesign:

iDesign partners with colleges and universities to build, grow and support online and blended programs. We are passionate about helping faculty harness the potential of emerging technologies to design courses and degrees that make an impact, whether they are fully online, flipped, blended, adaptive, or competency-based. Our unbundled, fee-for-service model is rooted in a commitment to flexibility and institutional autonomy, while our analytics platform supports continuous improvement through rigorous measurement of student engagement and course quality. From statewide university systems to private colleges, our custom solutions pair instructional design with technologies to enable great teaching. To learn more, please visit