By Joanne Kehoe

What do you get when you throw a bunch of instructional-designed minded people into a room? Equal parts sharing, openness, action – and nibbling on IDIG cookies iced and baked by highly-valued member Peg French. IDIG held their first face-to-face meeting back on March 22nd (yes this blog post is long overdue) and welcomed over 60 teaching and learning professionals, educators and others interested in instructional design to the elegant faculty club space at McMaster University.

You can see what our agenda looked like here, but let’s start things off by talking about what happened during our icebreaker “brain dates” table topics session, which from the feedback was a highly-enjoyed activity. We set up a table per topic and it was facilitated by one of our working group members. Participants gravitated to whatever table interested them, had a conversation and then moved on to another topic after about 15 minutes.

Sometimes things like this fall flat. But by the din of voices in the air and the feedback we received in our post-event survey, we could have continued this conversation format well past the hour we set aside. Because of this, the topics we selected will help form our activities and events throughout the coming year. Here’s one highlight for each of the topics discussed:

Room full of people talking and circulating in collaboration with one another.

IDIG members in action! Photo: Public Domain

Faculty Development Initiatives – How can we share the resources we create for our faculty development workshops more effectively?

Instructional Design Models –  A move away from ADDIE to SAM as a model for course design (see this recent blog post by Raccoon Gang on this very thought).

Course Design Docs and Processes – The realization that we all have different processes and templates and there is no one-size fits all approach (unfortunately!)

Instructional Designer PD – A need for an online portal of course/module exemplars outside of LMS

Future Trends in ID – How to design for more immersive experiences AR/VR

Traits of an ID – Conversation centered around ideas we can integrate from the book Learned Optimism by Martin Seligman.

Managing Multiple Projects – The acceptance that there are so many project management tools available and being used, there is no one best tool, platform or approach. A good follow-up to this topic is this  video created and shared  by Eric Tremblay and the Queen’s University team on their low-tech, high-impact approach for managing their projects

Mentorship/Working with Faculty – Demonstrating other ways of doing things to entice faculty to try new approaches – using prototypes and sample pages to show them how their online teaching could work differently.

Next up, we welcomed Dr. Joe Kim, McMaster University, who gave a memorable (get it?) talk about motivating durable learning through instructional design. Dr. Kim’s research is fascinating and offered us a glimpse into how we can help design and structure course materials in a way that leads students to deeper learning.

Colleagues working together to draw visual representation of their knowledge.

Photo shared CC-BY Giulia Forsythe via

We tapped into our creative side after lunch with Giulia Forsythe, Brock University, who took (some of) us out of our comfort zones during a visual note-taking workshop. Not only was it fun to get out the markers and ‘draw’ on our experiences, it was enlightening to think about alternate ways to organize our knowledge and reimagine how we conceptualize our note-taking practices. See Giulia’s reflection on IDIG day on her blog.

Our morning and afternoon workshops featured: Matt Clare, talking about using the cloud version of Canvas to create Open Content; Terry Greene leading us on the Fleming adventure in creating a Teaching and Learning Blog;  Jenni Hayman and Maureen Glynn showing us how to integrate OER into our course designs; and a fun-filled EdTech test kitchen with PressBooks, H5P, Augmented Reality and Virtual Simulations ‘stations’ for circulating, doing and discussing!

The day concluded with a lightning round session where anyone was free to get up and briefly talk about, demo, plead for help on, instructional design projects they have been involved in. We were blown away by the high calibre work our colleagues are engaged in and will look to having more opportunities to share and learn from one another in a similar fast-paced format.

If you want to take a look at any of the notes, slides, presentations, resources for the day, they can be found at the IDIG March 22nd Collaboration Station Google folder. You can also check out the Twitter action via this social wall created by Terry Greene.

As with any good networking opportunity, we closed the day with beverage clinking, munchie sharing and more idea swapping at the Phoenix campus pub and look forward to many opportunities to do more of the same!