Category Archives: LRNT 527

Designing Courses

Reflection is not a skill that I naturally possess, but it is something that I value.  With every experience, be it my own or one that I am a part of, I am learning to look back and see what went well and what could use improvement.  In my mind, there are always items in each category, and it is worth reviewing.  I have found that it is easy to view reflection as a waste of time or not needed – something that I am guilty of doing on several occasions, but when I do take the time, I am better prepared for the next time a similar experience happens.  That being said, it is time for a reflection on my experience designing a digital resource.

I have always enjoying designing new ways to tackle a problem.  I like taking paper processes and making them digital or reviewing a new process to ensure it is providing the expected results.  This is the first time I had the opportunity to design something new.  In the past, I have always worked with the existing resource to improve it.  While it was daunting being the one to create a digital learning resource (DLR), it was also exciting.  I was surprised to see the how much a role empathy should play in all designs.  My experience did not lead me to think that empathy has any part of designing courses and resources.  I was pleased (and relieved) to learn the truth.  I question how to get those currently in designer roles who are not employing empathy to realize the power behind empathetic designs.

For future designs for which I am responsible, I would like to have users involved.  Due to my circumstances, I was not able to implement feedback from users into the design.  As a result, my design used the literature to create an informed design.  I hoped to receive some feedback from those who reviewed my prototype, but that was not the case.  Given the limited amount of feedback, I realized the value I placed on knowing what others in the field thought and suggestions they had.

I am looking forward to my next opportunity to design a course.  I will be able to take what I have learned and apply it again, and hopefully do a better job.  When that time comes, I would like to keep better notes during the process in order to have a stronger reflection upon completion.

Empathy…the first step

“You can change your perspective without even moving your feet” (Seeling, 2013, para. 5).  This statement made me stop and think.  In order to create something new, perspectives must change, at least a little bit, otherwise results will not differ.  After completing the readings this week, I (re)realized how important it is to have the right tools available in order to change perspectives, foster ideas, and create the new (whatever it is!).

I kept my PoP in mind as I read the articles so I could start to consider the best way to approach the issue.  How can we create an online orientation that will fulfill the needs taken care of in the face-to-face delivery with the additional needs of online learning?  In an attempt to start the process, I created an Empathy Map and Mini-Manifesto.  I have always felt that the designer needs to keep the end-user in mind while in the design process.  I was not able to articulate that thought so clearly until being a student in the MALAT program, but it has always been part of my values.  Now that I have the opportunity to create a digital resource, I can take that belief and apply it.  Empathy is the first step in doing just that.

The timing of this PoP is tricky since students are all off campus and therefore, I am unable to contact them for information, but I am sure that I will find an empathy method that will allow me to gather the information I need.  I am fortunate that I was on the team who planned the face-to-face version as well as the team in charge of the online delivery.

As Kouprie and Visser (2009) stated “empathy is a necessary quality for developing products that meet customer needs” (p. 437).  It is important to realize that, ultimately, we are always working to meeting the needs of customers, they may be students or clients, thus we need to keep their needs at the top of our minds.



Kouprie, M., & Sleeswijk Visser, F. (2009) A framework for empathy in design: stepping into and out of the user’s . Journal of Engineering Design, 20(5), 437-448. DOI: 10.1080/09544820902875033

Seelig, T. (2013). How reframing a problem unlocks innovation. Fast Company. Retrieved from