IPT Seminar Oct 2: Mike Griffiths

This post is connected with IPT 690, a graduate seminar course in Instructional Psychology and Technology at Brigham Young University.

On the 2nd of October, we were able to hear from Dr. Mike Griffiths, who was a graduate our program from a few years ago.  Mike related some of the experiences that he had after graduation, which led his family to BYU-Hawaii where he helped develop their online program, and currently to the Missionary Training Center, where he helps develop curriculum to train outgoing full-time missionaries.

What impressed me most about Mike’s discussion was how firmly he believed in the tools that he used as a graduate student.  During his studies, Mike had done some research with Dr. Charles Graham about the use of asynchronous video in online classes, and when he started to develop the online learning program at BYU-Hawaii, asynchronous video became a large component of their instructional model.  My impression thus far in the program, is that instructional design models and theories are basically tools to use as professional designers. I had assumed that in the design process, most designers take a rather eclectic process, forgoing a strict adherence to theoretical beliefs, and instead using whatever tools works for the situation.  Mike however, seemed to double down on his belief in asynchronous video, and it seems to have been successful for BYU-Hawaii.

One comment that Mike made that I found especially interested in was his discussion of how asynchronous video in an online class allows the instructor to build a personal relationship with the students, and while I agree that this is probably so, I can’t help but be overwhelmed by the investment that such interpersonal communication requires.  If I were teaching an online class, and I had, let’s say, 30 students.  All of that communication would be fairly taxing.  Mike discussed how the outsourced a lot of the feedback to part-time student tutors, but such a model doesn’t seem scalable, especially for a smaller institution.  While I think that this would be an interesting experiment to try in a class, I think that I would have to set some expectations regarding asynchronous video communication between myself and students.

Overall, Mike encouraged us to take the tools that we were learning as instructional designers and go “change the world” — in whatever way we define that phrase.  I’m glad to see that Mike is going down that path, and I am interested to see how I will live up to that challenge.