The University Professional & Continuing Education Association (UPCEA) held their Central Region Conference in St. Louis September 26-28, 2018. I was pleased to see that instructional designers held a steady presence throughout the conference. Our role is often misunderstood, so positive exposure on a regional and national level will expand local collaborations with faculty and programs.
I presented on my work designing and implementing asynchronous, instantaneous communications assessments with the Master of Science in Palliative Care program on the CU Anschutz campus. In my session, I focused on integrating soft skills with content, which was well received by attendees. It was interesting to hear the perspectives from those in attendance, who voiced the need to incorporate scalable soft skills assessment in their curriculums. Disciplines represented included pharmacy, veterinary medicine, mass communications, and autism outreach services.
Top takeaways from my session include:
- Design high stakes, timed assessments that incorporate communication skills (written or oral) to disrupt the cycle of papers and week long discussion boards often seen in the online classroom.
- Incorporate students’ reflections on their performance in these assessments to promote a growth mindset.
- Create and use rubrics that cover demonstration of content expertise and soft skills (eye contact, demonstration of empathy, use of jargon, etc.).