Getting the Most from Instructional Design

Portrait of Eileen ChenToday we’re spotlighting one of the richest resources for Engineering faculty and staff: Eileen Chen and her toolbox of Instructional Design (ID) supports. If you are hazy about how to use Canvas or Camtasia, Chen has created easy-to-follow videos and prompts on the Instructional Design web pages. In fact, she reported over 180,000 views of her team’s ID videos. Faculty and staff can learn how to optimize their use of teaching tools such as Canvas, Zoom web conferencing, and Camtasia. The ID site also offers recommendations for using tools to teach tech-enhanced flipped, online, and hybrid classes.

There’s a student resource page on the site as well, where students can learn how to submit assignments, view their grades, post on topics, and start a web conference.

Even more helpful than the site is booking an appointment for a conversation with Chen. “I never try to push software tools on anyone,” she explained. “Instead, I like to function more as a listening companion on their journey. ID is about supporting faculty. When I first work with our faculty, I like to learn what subjects they teach, what class activities students have, how they weigh student performance, and what their learning style will be. During the conversation, I can get to know the person, his or her teaching style or working style, and where the concerns are for them. Only after we’ve firmly established that trust and understanding will I share ideas and connect them with tools and training that can support their coursework.”

Chen knows quite a lot about teaching styles, having taught topics from iPhone apps camp, media design, web design, and art to Chinese lessons for learners of all ages for more than ten years. An alumna of SJSU, she earned her B.A. in Graphic Design with an Art Education minor, then went to Cal State East Bay for an M.S. in Educational Technology Leadership. She also studied in a multimedia graduate program and took courses in psychology, philosophy, and public relations, all skills that help her in her current role.

In Chen’s estimation, ID is a somewhat underused resource in the College of Engineering. “The new professors are very app-savvy, and when they arrive, they feel confident that they have what they need. The senior professors have created work-arounds for their challenges, sometimes decades ago, and they are reluctant to experiment with new technologies.” However, there are enough folks who want to learn something new, or do something better, to keep Chen busy. For example, a professor might reach out to say, “I plan to record my lecture, but I have never done it before. Where should I start?”

“Our ultimate shared goal,” concluded Chen, “is to benefit our Engineering students and to create solutions that fit their needs. She'd like to invite you to visit our ID website, share your concerns, and your ideas of how to help students learn better. ID is here to support the bond between professors and students.”

If you’d like to work with Eileen Chen, either fill out this form or contact her to schedule a time for a conversation.