Debra Chittur


This study explored the experiences of professors and instructional designers as they interact to design and develop a distance learning course. Six professors from several different universities who reported that their pedagogy improved after these interactions during the conversion process were identified and interviewed, along with the instructional designers with whom they collaborated, to determine what elements of the interaction led to the change in their pedagogical practices. The study used a Hermeneutics phenomenology approach employing a universal instructional design model (Merrill, 2013) and a threat regulation model of trust (Williams, 2007) to shape data collection and analysis. Analysis of the data showed that principles from the instructional design model (Merrill, 2013) were used by the instructional designers to communicate good teaching practices. Strategies from the trust-building model (Williams, 2007) were employed by the instructional designers as well as some of the faculty to reduce threats to collaboration. Faculty reported incorporating a more student-centered approach to their subsequent teaching, based primarily on improved student outcomes in these courses, including satisfaction, engagement, and retention of new knowledge. Four conclusions emerged from the findings: (a) Merrill’s First Principles (2013) is a useful model for explaining student-centered practices in higher education, particularly the principle of using real-world problems in course design, (b) Williams’s trust-building model explains some of the success of the professor/instructional designer interactions, (c) professors valued pedagogical support from experienced instructional designers, who facilitated changes in their thinking about pedagogy, and (d) professors were more likely to make changes in pedagogy when they could anticipate improved learning outcomes. Universities are recommended to implement the use of professional instructional designers and quality frameworks to introduce faculty to student-centered teaching practices. As change agents in the universities, instructional designers should take advantage of the opportunity to impact teaching practices in universities. Further research might explore how faculty incorporate new knowledge acquired as a result of interacting with instructional designers into their teaching. In addition, future studies could examine the incorporation of those features of instructional design that are not reflected in active learning methods, particularly the use of backward design to create connections between learning activities.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Dissertations (EdD) -- Learning technologies; Instructional systems -- Design; Trust; Computer-assisted instruction

Date of Award


School Affiliation

Graduate School of Education and Psychology



Degree Type


Degree Name


Faculty Advisor

Davis, Kay D.;