Gentle Project Management: Shepherding Pedagogical Change

  • Sara Schoen University of Minnesota - Twin Cities
  • Annette McNamara University of Minnesota - Twin Cities
Keywords: Instructional design, project management, coaching, change management, pedagogy, PM


Does it ever feel like your project management experience gets thrown out the door when working in higher education? As instructional designers, project managers, and/or academic technologists we have to be flexible in keeping projects on-track; we also have to be sensitive and realize that asking instructors to consider changing how they traditionally teach can present them an overwhelming prospect. On paper, project management, change management, and instructional design may look like fairly straightforward processes. Project management manages the tasks necessary to complete a project. Change management guides the people as they prepare for change, manage change, and reinforce change. Instructional design manages the design and development of an educational experience. In real life, these processes are never quite so straightforward. Additionally, we work in the higher ed environment which offers us unique challenges and opportunities for managing the tasks and people in our projects. By integrating traditional change management, project management, and instructional design models, we can adapt strategies to our academic environment. We will focus on concrete strategies to support both the tasks AND the people.

Presentation Objectives:

  • Instructional projects in higher ed often have competing goals -- to keep the project on track, and to encourage pedagogical change that improves the learning environment. These competing goals require proficiency in managing both the tasks of the project, and the people through the changes
  • Describe the challenges and opportunities that are unique to managing instructional projects in higher ed
  • Apply strategies in the areas of project management, change management, and instructional design to your own situation.

Author Biography

Sara Schoen, University of Minnesota - Twin Cities

As an instructional designer, Sara works with faculty and staff to develop, design, and transfer course content to online environments in ways that will be most effective for student learning. She is also interested in supporting the professional development of online instructors so that they can support their online students.