FIU Online Makes an Impact at Innovation Summit

FIU instructional designers at Innovation Summit

The Florida Online Innovation Summit is an annual opportunity for Florida college and university educators, instructional designers, and administrators to exchange ideas and discuss initiatives to innovate online education. At this year’s meeting in March, FIU Online instructional designers Amanda González Izquierdo, Aaron Robles, and Kieron Williams, in collaboration with our Associate Director of Learning Technology Maikel Right, delivered engaging and impactful presentations. Attendees were blown away by the insights shared by who they endearingly started calling “the FIU group.”

The FIU Online Showcase Course

During the first concurrent session, Amanda González Izquierdo and Maikel Right unveiled the FIU Online Showcase Course, a hub of information and inspiration that highlights educational technology, design principles, and successful uses of the Canvas LMS that result in engaging, dynamic, and innovative learning experiences. In their presentation, they discussed the challenges faced by many instructional designers (IDs) and instructors during the course design process and explained how the FIU Online Showcase Course is a space built to solve the problems that many higher education professionals encounter.

During a tour of the Showcase Course, Amanda and Maikel highlighted templates that can be imported into Canvas courses, sample modules that can serve as inspiration for faculty, and tool pages full of samples and resources for the more than 70 educational technology tools vetted by FIU Online. They also discussed the future of the Showcase Course, which includes the expansion of the Tool Quiz, a resource for faculty to be paired with an educational technology tool that meets the needs of their online classroom. The Showcase Course is live and can be accessed by anyone, so Amanda and Maikel encouraged attendees to explore the course, share it with their colleagues, and email with any collaboration ideas. 

Amanda and Maikel during their presentation of the Showcase Course

Storytelling as Pedagogy

During the second concurrent session, Aaron, Kieron, and Maikel gave a presentation titled “Once Upon an LMS: Storytelling as Pedagogy.” They discussed how elements of storytelling can be leveraged to increase organic engagement in the online, hybrid, and in-person classroom, introduce immersive learning, and transform higher education curricula. They shared an example of how they had used storytelling for Maikel’s course “The Power of Play” by creating an H5P scavenger hunt. For the scavenger hunt, students were asked to go around campus to get acquainted with student resources like the Food Pantry and the office for Counseling and Psychological Services. At every location, students had to scan a QR code that brought up a question about the syllabus. The experience was so engaging for students, and they learned so much through the scavenger hunt that Maikel did not receive a single question about the syllabus in the entire semester.

Aaron, Kieron, and Maikel also made sure to give session attendees a great definition of the storytelling-as-pedagogy methodology: “Any method or practice of teaching where students are given a role within a story-driven narrative and must then learn to apply the course content to make progress, overcome obstacles, and ultimately influence the trajectory and the outcome of the narrative.” 

Kieron, Aaron, and Maikel during their presentation "Storytelling as Pedagogy"

Closing Thoughts 

Conference attendees were enthralled and impressed by the presentations. Charlotte Jones Roberts, Associate Instructional Designer at the University of Central Florida, wrote on LinkedIn that she was “absolutely blown away” by the presentation delivered by Aaron, Kieron, and Maikel, whom she described as “FIU Online superstars.” Heather Olson, Director of Online Teaching and Learning Experience at Florida Southwestern State College, said that she had not stopped talking about the Showcase Course for days and remarked that Amanda and Maikel have “done truly amazing work.” 

FIU Online brings innovative approaches to designing and delivering online courses. We are excited to continue sharing our ideas with our communities at future conferences. 

Amanda González Izquierdo is an Instructional Design Specialist at FIU Online. She helps faculty maintain the engaging, dynamic, and accessible qualities of their course content. Outside of her professional appointment as an Instructional Designer, she researches and publishes on Caribbean literary and theoretical production. She is most passionate about providing great educational experiences and access to learning to underserved communities.

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