(2017). What do instructional designers in higher education really do? International Journal on E-Learning, 16(4), 371-393.
Abstract: What do instructional designers in higher education really do? With the rise in online courses and programs in higher education, this question is especially important. We interviewed eight instructional designers from across the United States using a semi-structured interview protocol. The results were analyzed using the constant comparative qualitative procedure. Results demonstrate that instructional designers primarily serve faculty in their roles, but also perceive students as their final audience. Faculty are often both the client and the subject-matter experts in this context. Instructional designers in higher education use a wide variety of tools for a wide variety of purposes ranging from course design to supporting faculty in delivering online courses to facilitating meaningful workshops for faculty. Further, instructional designers in higher education exercise project management techniques to assist in managing the plethora of projects they may be assigned. Our paper concludes with a discussion of our findings and their connection to instructional design practice in higher education contexts.