Before COVID-19, I would try to explain what I did to my friends or my family and always ended up saying, "I create online courses" or "I take face to face courses and put them online," something along those lines. Explaining everything I did (which as any instructional designer knows is a lot), always caused people to get the glazed over eyes and the active nodding but not really understanding or not that interested. As it turns out, once COVID-19 caused schools and companies to push towards remote work, now, a lot of people know what instructional designers do. We make things happen.
As an instructional designer, we are often tasked with the impossible. Here's a boring training - make it interesting. Make it online. Make sure people learn and apply the ideas and concepts. Here's a course - I keep getting bad reviews. Make it better. Add interactivity. Make students' like me. There are a number of scenarios that any instructional designer is faced with on a daily basis - and at the end of the day, we make it work.
As it turns out, I'm not the only one who thinks this. There have been a number of articles that say instructional designers are needed and are thriving in this new 'normal.' That they are the reason that a lot of courses were able to go online so quick.
But here's the thing - and it is a really, big, important thing - instructional design and creating online courses well, and I mean well, doesn't happen in the matter of a week. It takes a few months, at least. Therefore, we should not be comparing the courses that were pushed into online formats this spring (and even this summer) as well and thoughtfully designed online courses. They weren't. They were the mad dash of faculty and instructors getting all of their content online quickly so that learning can continue. That means probably - not high quality videos, thrown together assignments, changed assignments from experiential to paper or project based, poor tests, unreasonable expectations, etc. The list goes on and on. And sure, instructional designers were there to help and provide their points of view - but even instructional designers did not have the time to help faculty to develop and create these courses.
This blog post could probably go on and on.... in the topic of the COVID-19 emergency teaching response. What this post is truly about is the response for the need for instructional designers. Instructional designers are multi-faceted people who can do a lot of things. However, and this is a big however, they cannot do everything. So, while the field on instructional design is booming and seeing an increase in positions across different environments, keep in mind your one instructional designer or your team of instructional designers may be overwhelmed during this time. People and companies are now aware of instructional designers, what we do, what we are capable of. But we mustn't, abuse them by giving them all of the problems of the company, of the school, of the world and insist they find all of the solutions.