Heather Garcia is an instructional designer with Ecampus. She received her M.S. in Instructional Science and Technology from California State University Monterey Bay, while, like many degree-seekers, working full-time. Having been in the field of instructional design for over 10 years, her work has involved partnering with faculty to design and develop courses as well as facilitating faculty professional development in online, hybrid, and face-to-face environments. Every interaction with faculty is an opportunity to increase inclusion in classrooms, and Heather takes these opportunities to discuss approaches to inclusive design and teaching.
Currently pursuing a PhD in Language, Equity, and Educational Policy, while continuing to work full-time as an instructional designer, Heather is, in both her professional and academic roles, critically analyzing issues of equity and privilege as they relate to online learning and instructional design; examining educational practices and policies impacting, not just students, but staff and faculty; and researching critical digital pedagogy and inclusive design, and specifically, the positioning of instructional designers as integral to these efforts.
In her work as an IE fellow, Heather focused on a project around promoting inclusive design approaches through collaborative design conversations. The project emphasized relationship-building with faculty as a foundation for productive and collaborative course design. A cornerstone of relationship building is asking thoughtful questions that lead to improved collaboration and stronger working relationships. This project aimed to identify and evaluate questions that instructional designers can ask faculty during the design and development phases. The questions are open-ended and positive- (rather than deficit-) focused and envision possibility and elicit dialogue, particularly around student-centered and inclusive course design. As an IE fellow, Heather created a resource (https://docs.google.com/document/d/1cLiMdw-iEuIIgR8Z5ASTF0CXi51x4ty5Sw1T...) that other instructional designers can reference in their work with faculty to create more inclusive learning environments for students.