“The problem with most digital pedagogies today is that they primarily equate to design: Instructional design, universal design, inclusive design—these are the “pedagogies” we get to choose from.” ~ Sean Michael Morris, “Humanizing Digital Pedagogy: the Role of Imagination in Distance Teaching”

Hybrid Pedagogy Books is pleased to announce this call for contributors for a new reader which will explore critical instructional design, a humanizing and problem-posing digital design approach grounded in the critical pedagogy of Paulo Freire. The collection will seek to feature voices from all over academia—designers and technologists, and also faculty, staff, and students—with a specific focus on voices from BIPOC, LGBTQ+, disabled, neurodivergent and other marginalized communities.

This reader starts from the thesis that we have to begin to imagine better digital pedagogies, more critical digital pedagogies, which go farther than the mere implementation of design. Learning design of all kinds focuses primarily on the technology that lies between student and teacher, on the practices and tools and operations of creating a more engaging interface experience. But what if technology had misled us, distracted us from what’s actually important for teaching online? What if technology has so far interpreted instruction for us—even from the days of correspondence courses—making the page, digital or otherwise, a surrogate for our pedagogies? How do we reclaim the relational, communal, intimate side of teaching when glass and pixels and apps stand between? When we undertake the work of defining and investigating critical instructional design, we must shift our focus from the screen to the student, from best practices to humanizing pedagogies.

To do this work requires imagination. In order for a critical instructional design to be effective it must—in much the same way as a critical pedagogy—not reiterate what has been, but recognize things as they may be otherwise. The theory and practice of critical instructional design hew from a traditional understanding of online and digital education and construct instead a vision of that education which is new, even groundbreaking.

The editors are seeking submissions that address:

Defining Critical Instructional Design

  • Discovering the connections between design for digital learning and the critical pedagogy of Paulo Freire, bell hooks, Maxine Greene, Ira Shor, and others;
  • Theorizing a problem-posing humanizing digital design, one which asks questions by design;
  • Defining from various perspectives the idea of a critical instructional design, and how it differs from, intersects with, and amplifies other design approaches like UDL, inclusive design, design for justice, etc.

Approaching from the Margins

  • Offering narratives from marginalized communities—BIPOC, LGBTQ, disabled, neurodivergent, and others—on how digital design has or has not succeeded in its inclusive vision;
  • Illuminating non-European pedagogies—indigenous, queer, feminist, etc.—and their relationship to digital design;
  • Examining problems with educational technology such as implicit bias, and the ways in which innovative design efforts are centered on Western educational approaches;
  • Exploring the role of imagination in critical pedagogy and digital design.

Practicing Critical Instructional Design

  • Providing practical guidance for implementing a praxis for critical instructional design;
  • Examining the role of open education and open pedagogy with regards to critical instructional design;
  • Examining the relationship between trauma-informed pedagogy, pedagogies of care, and critical instructional design;
  • Considering the tools and practices of traditional instructional design—from the learning management system and its component parts (grade book, discussion forum, data analytics, etc.) to unquestioned practices such as “post once, reply twice”—in the context of a humanizing and critical pedagogy;
  • Offering a critique of surveillance technologies (like remote proctoring or plagiarism detection software).

Supporting Design Pedagogies

  • Studying issues of labor with regards to design for digital learning: the role of the adjunct or contingent faculty, the location of instructional designers in academia, the ongoing dialogue between scholars of teaching and learning and centers for faculty development;
  • Offering meaningful alternatives to traditional faculty development in digital education, including suggestions for infrastructure solutions at the institutional level;
  • Discussing the need for institutional leadership in critical instructional design and critical digital pedagogy.

Submissions may take the form of:

  • Personal narrative and narrative scholarship;
  • Qualitative research-based inquiry;
  • Interviews;
  • Poetry;
  • Manifestos;
  • Collaborative writing;
  • Or other creative formats.

Draft submissions of up to 6,000 words are due no later than July 15, 2021. Drafts should be submitted as Google Docs to Sean Michael Morris at sean.m.morris@ucdenver.edu. If you want to discuss a proposal for a chapter, or if you have any questions reach out to Sean for support.

The volume will be published by Hybrid Pedagogy Books, and will be available in open access and paid print versions. Publication is anticipated for Spring 2022.

Sean Michael Morris is senior instructor of Learning Design and Technology at the University of Colorado Denver, founder of Digital Pedagogy Lab, and former managing editor of Hybrid Pedagogy. Sean has worked in digital education inside and outside of academia since 1999, and is a prominent voice in critical digital pedagogy. He co-authored An Urgency of Teachers: the Work of Critical Digital Pedagogy, and co-edited Critical Digital Pedagogy: A Collection and Voices of Practice: Narrative Scholarship from the Margins. Sean has contributed to Disrupting Digital Humanities, Digital Pedagogy in the Humanities; MOOCs and their Afterlives: Experiments in Scale and Access in Higher Education; Applied Pedagogies: Strategies for Online Writing Instruction; and Critical Examinations of Distance Education Transformation Across Disciplines.

Martha Burtis is the Associate Director and Learning Developer at the Open CoLab at Plymouth State University. Prior to arriving at PSU, she was the founding director of the Digital Knowledge Center, a peer tutoring organization for students working on digital projects and assignments, at the University of Mary Washington. Her work includes innovations such as ds106, the ACE Framework, and the Domain of One’s Own project.

Surita Jhangiani is a tenure track instructor in the Faculty of Education at the University of British Columbia. Her teaching specializations are lifespan development, diversity, and critical pedagogy. Her current research focuses on the scholarship of teaching and learning and open educational resources.

Jerod Quinn is an instructional designer at the University of Missouri System Office of eLearning. He has been an instructional designer for over a decade and has helped design, rethink, and create hundreds of online courses from dozens of academic disciplines. His written works focus on creating practical guides for instructional designers and other educators in higher education. He edited The Learner-Centered Instructional Designer, published by Stylus Publishing in November 2020.

Sukaina Walji is Acting Director and Head: Online Education at the Centre for Innovation in Learning and Teaching at the University of Cape Town. She oversees operational functions for online and blended learning and provides strategic advice for digitally enhanced learning. She has managed a team of learning designers and digital media producers who support faculty with designing blended and online courses and exploring new modes of teaching. Her work includes learning design, conceptualisation and business modelling, project management, stakeholder liaison, and monitoring and evaluation of online and blended learning projects. Her research interests include online learning design, MOOCs, Open Educational Practices and Unbundling Higher Education.