Instructional Design & Technology


Instructional Design & Technology (IDT)

“”Instructional Design is a systematic process that is employed to develop education and training programs in a consistent and reliable fashion” (Reiser & Dempsey, 2007), and “educational technology is a complex and integrated process, involving people, procedures, ideas, devices, and organization for analyzing problems and devising, implementing, evaluating, and managing solutions to those problems, involved in all aspects of human learning” (AECT 1977).

As a educator with a background in instructional design,  I am concerned with designing, developing, utilizing, managing, and evaluating processes and technological resources to facilitate and improve learning. I believe that technology when implemented in a pedagogically sound and evidence-based manner can act as a change agent and transform educational practices and systems.

Below are media-rich systems, units, lessons, courses, and resource sites that I have designed using instructional design theory. Also, included is an article and planning matrix.

IDT in Distance Education

“Distance education is planned learning that normally occurs in a different place from teaching and as a result it requires special techniques of course design, special instructional techniques, special methods of communication by electronic and other technology, as well as special techniques of course design, and other technology, as well as special organizational and administrative arrangements.” ~Moore & Kearsley, 2005

In designing and teaching courses for distance education programs, I have recognized that a point of consensus among many distance education researchers and practitioners is that interaction is a crucial element for learning. Moore (1993) specifically noted that three types of interactions are necessary for effective online learning: (a) learner-content, (b) learner-learner, and (c) learner-teacher. Selecting appropriate technological mediums to support these interactions is also important. Thus, in teaching at a distance, I have adopted Web-based instructional strategies and instructional technologies to facilitate interaction at all three levels. Below are artifacts that I have created that exemplify this.

Relevant Courses Taught & Designed (Selected):

I have designed and taught residential, online, and blended courses at the doctoral levels. McKeachie (2011, p. 270) cites my use of web-based tools, such as wikis and Twitter, in the classroom as exemplary. For innovative technology integration in doctoral courses, I was awarded the Chancellor’sAward for Teaching Excellence. Please see my Teaching Evaluations page for student’s evaluation of my teaching.

  • EDUC 633 Principals of Design and Management in Distance Education (Online)
  • EDUC 639 Trends and Issues in Educational Technology (Online)
  • ICL 8995 IDT Scholarly Project (Online)
  • ICL 9000 IDT Dissertation Proposal (Online)
  • IDT 8092 Research in IDT (Online)
  • IDT 8500 Evaluation and Synthesis of Research in IDT (Online)

Please see my curriculum vitae for additional course.


From 2009–2014, I served as the Chair of Doctoral Research Programs for an online doctorate of education program with second generation characteristics (See Perry, 2012).

Within this position, I

  • Conceptualized and collaboratively built high quality, innovative programs and systems, including a technological solution to enable more effective online mentorship through a portal with easy-to-use features such as file sharing, discussions, calendar sharing, task assignment, collaborative editing, and video-conferencing.
  • Was recognized by Microsoft and was featured as a case study for this innovative system.
  • Was honored with one of nine 2013 Campus Technology Innovators awards for my innovative approach to supporting online students.

From 2015–2016, I extended my leadership role beyond the School of Education. I took a one-year position in a Provost Office, directing a multidisciplinary, university-wide accreditation initiative focused on improving residential and online student learning through engagement in innovative, applied research.

As part of this position, I

  • Began establishing a center for student research that provided equivalent services to residential and online students
  • Developed a 21st century researcher-practitioner-steward training framework to guide curriculum redesign.
  • As technology has changed the way knowledge is created, published, and disseminated, I developed a plan to connect departments across the university and programs to assist faculty in using Adobe Creative Cloud tools to innovate their research curriculum.
  • Wrote a portion of the accreditation report for SACSCOC.

Research & Scholarship

I have

  • Authored and co-authored more than 24 peer-reviewed journal articles
  • Presented and co-presented over 20 professional presentations on technology integration and distance education

Understanding the importance of mentorship, many of these publications and presentations have been coauthored with undergraduate, master’s, and doctoral students (e.g. Rockinson-Szapkiw, Szapkiw, & Tucker, 2010). $12,000 in grants have been secured to conduct research on the influence of wiki books and MUVES on students learning and community, additional funding has also been secured to train special education teachers in effectively integrating technology in the classroom.

Asterisks (*) next to presentations and publications on my curriculum vitae and below indicate my collaboration with students and demonstrate my strong interest and skill in mentoring/ supervising and collaborating with students on research.

Selected, Relevant Publications

Selected Peer Reviewed Journal Articles

*Rachels, J. & Rockinson-Szapkiw, A.J. (2017, in press). Improving elementary students’ Spanish language achievement and academic self-efficacy through gamification. Computers & Education.


*Wendt, J. & Rockinson-Szapkiw, A.J. (2014). The effect of online collaborative learning on middle school student science literacy. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 51(9), 1103–1118. doi: 10.1002/tea.21169.

Rockinson-Szapkiw, A.J, Wendt, J. & Lunde, R. M. (2013). The influence of textbook format on university students’ self-regulated learning strategies, motivation, and text anxiety. American Distance Education 27(3), 179-188. doi:10.1080/08923647.2013.796230

Rockinson-Szapkiw, A. J. (2012). Should online doctoral instructors adopt audio feedback as an instructional strategy? Preliminary evidence. International Journal of Doctoral Studies,7, 245-258.Retrieved from

Rockinson-Szapkiw, A. J., Baker, J.D., Neukrug, E., & Hanes, J. (2010). The efficacy of computer mediated communication technologies to augment and to support effective online counselor education.Journal of Technology in Human Services 28(3), 161-177.

Selected Peer Reviewed Presented Papers & Presentations

Courduff, J., Wendt, J. & Rockinson-Szapkiw, A. J. (2016). Exemplary practice in special education teachers’ technology integration.  American Educational Research Association. Washington, DC.

Rockinson-Szapkiw, A.J. & Spaulding, L.S. (2013). Facebook Communities: Building Online Community and Increasing Retention Among Online Students. Sloan-C. Orlando, Fl.

Dunn, R. & Rockinson-Szapkiw, A. (2012, December). iPads and Autism: Developing Sound Approaches. VSTE. Virginia Beach, VA.

Rockinson-Szapkiw, A., Dunn, R., & Holder, D. (2011). Students’ Perceptions of Using Web 2.0 Technologies to Enhance the Social and Cognitive Aspects of Learning: Audio and Video Enhanced Wiki Texts and Second Life Discussions in Teacher and Counselor Education. ISTE. Philadelphia, PA.

Rockinson-Szapkiw, A. & Szapkiw, M. (2011). Engaging Higher Education Students Through Tweeting. In Proceedings of Global Learn Asia Pacific 2011 (pp. 360-364). AACE. Retrieved from

Book Chapters

Rockinson-Szapkiw, A.J. (2015). Online Education (pp.894-895). In Kurian, T.G. & M. Lamport (Eds.), Encyclopedia of Christian education. Lanham, Md: Scarecrow Press.


Corduff, J. & Rockinson-Szapkiw, A. (2013). Technology Integration in the Speech and Language Pathologist Environment.2012-2013 School of Education Funded Research.

Rockinson-Szapkiw, A., Dunn, R. & Holder, D. (2010). Synergizing Web 2.0 Technologies: Wikis, Podcasting, and Vodcasting. The Center for Research and Scholarship Fund Research Grant.

Dunn, R., Holder, D. & Rockinson-Szapkiw, A.J. (2010). MUVEs and Student Communities in Online Learning. The Center for Research and Scholarship Fund Research Grant.

Please see my curriculum vitae for additional publications and presentations.

Awards & Recognition for Innovation and Scholarship


Community and University Faculty Mentorship

Known for my research on effectively integrating technology into the classroom and developing pedagogically sound online courses, I have  been invited to conduct

  • 18 workshops over the past 3 years for a variety of audiences, including Liberty University faculty, faculty at other Virginia universities, K-12 educators, and K-12 administrators.

For the past three years, I have  worked with the Center of Teaching Excellence to provide training and mentorship for the Technology Boot Camp. This boot camp has been attended by over:

  • 40 faculty representing
  • 13 departments

who spend an intensive week attending teaching with technology training to learn how to integrate technology effectively into their courses.

I have  provided 15  hours of training at the boot camp on topics such as using wikis to promote collaborative learning in the higher education classroom and creating nonlinear presentations using Prezi. Additionally, I have served as a faculty mentor for 10 of these faculty, assisting them with constructing their syllabi to include technology integration and developing technologies to use in the classroom.

As a result of this training and mentoring in 2011, faculty self-reported an increase in technology  awareness level and skill level  in 14 technologies. I co-mentored and assisted a participant with integrating blogs in her curricula to promote student’s reflection and higher thinking. My assistance with this implementation helped this faculty member earn the 2011-2012 Chancellor’s Award for Teaching Excellence.

Seeking to contribute to the quality of the university in other ways, I have  served on 9 committees to assist in the development and implementation of university policies and programs, including the general education committee and the information systems committee.

Student Mentorship

I view my role as an educator as that of a servant facilitator and mediator, and Greenleaf’s (1970) description of the servant leader is foundational to my understanding of these roles: “The servant-leader is a servant first…it begins with the natural feeling that one wants to serve, to serve first. The conscious choice to aspire to lead…to make sure that other people’s highest priority needs are being served.

The best test, and the most difficult to administer is: do those served grow as persons; do they, while being served, become healthier, wiser, freer, more autonomous, more likely themselves to become servants? “(p. 181). In other words, do they become more like their teacher?

Analogously, I believe that my research should seek to identify methods that facilitate growth and empower learners to become life-long participant learners and develop as scholars. This has led me to develop an Education Technology Research Team that is focused primarily on two scholarly functions:  (a) Scholarly Publication – It is intended to be a mechanism and conduit for scholarly activity that results in published research and (b) Grant Program Development – It is further intended to develop grant opportunities that significantly contribute to  the fields of both educational technology and distance education.

The scope of research activities of the team has been broad in terms of the range of issues and trends addressed, innovative deployment of emerging technologies; online social, professional and learning communities; Web 2.0 and semantic web; and usability of technology for online programs. As a co-founder of this team, I frequently works with masters and doctoral students.

Recent publications or presentations have focused on visual multimedia integration in the classroom and comparing the e-books and traditional books on student learning and motivation (see research section below). The publications related to wiki books that were a result of the grant garnered the attention of well-known Indiana University professor and writer, Curtis Bonk, who stated, “Much research is needed in this area. Well done.” Bonk also requested a copy of the article to share with his Wikibook research team.

I have seen doctoral candidates’ dreams of earning terminal degrees come to fruition. I have served as a chair for over 20 doctoral candidates’ dissertations. See my Doctoral Education and Research page for examples of dissertations.

Program and Curriculum Development

I have played an integral role in the development and extension of the Educational Technology and Online Instruction program at the university in which I am currently employed. The program aims to equip students with the skills and knowledge needed to be leaders in technology and e-learning implementation in educational entities. This was developed as an online program and was the first program at the university to include both synchronous (e.g. WebEx, Second Life) and asynchronous teaching (e.g. Blackboard, wikis, and blogs).

I have developed and regularly teach two of the core courses in this program, Current Trends and Issues in Educational Technology and Instructional Design in Distance Education.

Note: Please see my curriculum vitae for additional evidence of scholarly activity at the university, community, and professional levels.

As a faculty member who seeks to contribute to the quality of the profession and advocate for the profession, I have actively held memberships in educational technology, including ISTE and AACE. I have volunteered to sit on committees for VSTE and have served as a volunteer and session facilitator at AACE conferences. I have also also provided supervision for internships to students seeking a degree in educational technology.

To advance research and scholarship in the field of educational technology, I have also served as Managing Editor for a scholarly journal and served as a peer reviewer for journals and conferences (e.g. International Journal of Doctoral Studies, EMI Journal, AACE E-Learn, and ISTE).