Section 1: Project Logistics

About Us

About Designers for Learning

This service-learning project is facilitated by Designers for Learning. As of August 13, 2014, Designers for Learning is organized as a not-for-profit corporation in the State of Illinois, and operates exclusively for charitable purposes in accordance with section 501(c)(3) of the U.S. Internal Revenue Code (tax-exempt applications in process). Our charitable purpose includes coordinating volunteer service-learning opportunities for instructional design students who seek to gain experience creating instruction and other types of performance improvement solutions for nonprofits and other social enterprises. Our nonprofit status will open opportunities for us to seek grants to fund and sustain the facilitation of our projects.

About the Service-Learners

The full roster of service-learners is posted on the project website, along with the students’ school affiliations and their faculty sponsors. We thank everyone for volunteering for this service-learning project! Based on feedback from students in our spring of 2014 pilot project, we reduced the size of the new cohort to only 12 students. In addition, students from the spring cohort have volunteered again (yay!), which offers us additional capacity to work on revisions of the prototypes created during the pilot. The smaller cohort also gives us the opportunity to provide more one-to-one mentorship to the student design teams.

About the Facilitators

Dr. Jennifer Maddrell facilitated the spring of 2014 pilot, and is thrilled to be joined by a co-facilitator, Dr. Jill Stefaniak. Jennifer is the founder of Designers for Learning, and Jill is full time faculty at Old Dominion University. Both are Directors with the Designers for Learning nonprofit. Like the student service-learners, Jennifer and Jill are volunteering their time on this project. To reach them via email, please use the following:

Communication Technologies

As this is a 100% virtual project, we rely on a variety of online synchronous and asynchronous technologies to communicate and collaborate. The following summarizes our primary communication technologies, and how we will utilize them during this project.

Project Website

This website … … is the official online “home base” for the service-learning project, and the virtual design studio for the service-learners. Please bookmark this website, and check back for the latest information about the project. Content on the website is chunked into several main sections, including (1) Discussion Forums, (2) Jump Start Orientation, (3) News, (4) Project Links, and (5) Schedule. See the navigation to these sections at the top of each page on the website. Here is a rundown of the content:

See: Discussion Forum

We will utilize the Discussion Forums to communicate and exchange information about the project. While the forum topics will evolve as the project continues, note the Questions & Answer (Q&A) threads for both the facilitators and for our clients at Grace Centers of Hope. You are encouraged to use these threads to post questions and comments that will be reviewed by both the facilitators and our client contacts.

See: Jump Start Orientation

Materials we will cover during this two-week orientation appear the Jump Start Orientation section. Resources are grouped into six sections, including:

  • Section 1: Project Logistics
  • Section 2: Our Client – Grace Centers of Hope
  • Section 3: Our Client’s Needs
  • Section 4: Our Learners
  • Section 5: Project Deliverables
  • Section 6: Orientation First Reflection

See: News

This is a blog-like feature that the facilitators will use to post updates and announcements about the project.

See: Project Links

Additional resources that we will use once the project is under way are linked in this section, and will connect you to the following:

  • Google Drive Folder: A dedicated Google Drive Folder has been set up for the project. All participants will have “edit” access to this folder. Note the public will also have “view access”. While participants may have other preferred ways to collaborate and share documents within teams (e.g. DropBox), participants are encouraged to use this shared Google Drive Folder to share documents with the client and the facilitators.
  • Hope for Learning Home: This is the project home for final deliverables created by students in the spring 2014 project. It is based on the Weebly platform, and serves as our temporary home to house the final deliverables we create until we design and develop a more permanent solution.
  • Submit Individual Reflections: Individual designer reflections (discussed below) for the project will be uploaded by students for the facilitators’ review and comment using this submission form.
  • Submit Team Deliverables: Team deliverables (discussed below) for the project will be uploaded by students for the facilitators’ review and comment using this submission form.
  • Webcasts: We utilize live webcasts as a means of bringing participants together to discuss the ongoing progress of the project. While attendance at the live sessions is NOT mandatory, participation is encouraged if you are available. In addition, the sessions will be recorded for later viewing. We keep the live sessions relatively short (about an hour), and schedule them on an “as needed” basis (no more than every other week) when it appears that a live session is needed to tie up any questions. When a webcast is scheduled, you can always find the login information at All webcast recordings (including the webcasts held during the pilot project) are available for later viewing at

See: Schedule

The schedule for the project is maintained here. Please refer to this schedule for important project milestone due dates, as well as for the scheduled dates for live webcasts.


While some suggest that email is going the way of the dinosaur, it remains a key lifeline for a virtual project such as this. Please keep your eyes open for periodic emails coming from the facilitators to the email address you provided in your application.

Social Media (optional)

Last semester’s cohort did not fully embrace the social media tools we offered, but we’ll give it another try! Every group is different, and maybe the second time is a charm! One of the key goals for Designers for Learning is transparency in our design and collaboration process to encourage interaction from participants both inside and outside of the project. To that end, we have set up a Facebook group, a Google+ community, and a dedicated project hashtag (#oerccr … an acronym for Open Educational Resources for Career and College Readiness) to aggregate social media posts on twitter, Instagram, or elsewhere about the project. Use of these social media tools is OPTIONAL, but for those who are interested, here are places where you can interact and share online.

Key Activities: An Overview

Individual Designer Reflections

It is important for instructional designers and performance improvement consultants to engage in reflective practice. All student service-learners are required to complete individual designer reflections that are submitted privately to the project facilitators. The due dates for the individual designer reflections are shown in the Schedule. The submitted reflections also serve as field journals for the project that spark dialogue between the students and the facilitators who offer feedback, discuss strategies, and lend support when the service-learners face challenges with the project. The individual designer reflection submission form – the same for each of the reflections – is found within the Project Links navigation on the top of the website. Once the submission form is launched, use the pull-down menu to select the reflection you are submitting, and please complete the question prompts.

Instructional Design Project Deliverables

As detailed in Section 5 of this orientation, each design team will submit three project deliverables during the 15-weeks of the project, including:

  • Design Plan: Each team will submit a written Design Plan that represents your conceptualization and plan for the design for your unit of instruction.
  • Prototype: Each team will submit a prototype that will be the subject of a round of formative evaluation and feedback.
  • Final Deliverable: Each team will submit a final deliverable that will be used by Grace Centers of Hope.

Following the Jump Start orientation, design teams will be formed comprised of two student designers per team. Each student design team will be responsible for the design and development of one unit of instruction on an assigned topic that is described in Section 3. The unit of instruction must conform to the project’s Style Guide, and incorporate all necessary content presentation, learner practice, and assessment materials for one hour of tutored instruction.


Recognition of Successful Completion

Letter of Recognition

Upon successful completion of this service-learning project, each student will receive a letter of recognition from the facilitators acknowledging the student’s contribution. Successful completion will be determined based on the facilitators’ assessment of the following as submitted by the service-learners by the due dates noted in the Schedule:

  • Jump Start Orientation
  • Six Individual Designer Reflections
  • Design Plan
  • Prototype
  • Final Deliverable

In addition, some students in this service-learning project are using this experience for credit at their colleges or universities to fulfill course or service requirements. If you require additional documentation (beyond a letter of recognition) from the facilitators in order to receive credit for the experience in your program, please let the facilitators know as soon as possible.


We are also exploring digital badging options to incorporate into our service-learning process. If you have experience developing or using digital badges, please let the facilitators know.

CV / Resume

We are often asked how students should describe this service-learning experience in a CV or resume. Some suggestions are to:

  • Describe your role on the project within the “service” section of your CV or resume.
  • Include that you were a volunteer of Grace Centers of Hope on a service-learning project facilitated by Designers for Learning.
  • Note the duration of the project, and the number of hours you volunteered your service.
  • Provide details of your specific contribution, and the outcome of your efforts.


Given that all content produced within this project is released under a Creative Commons license, feel free to include copies of the work you produced on this project within your portfolio. As always, be sure to clarify your individual contributions on team deliverables.

Your To-Do List

1) Post an Introduction: Please post an introduction in the Discussion Forum under the “Introduction” forum.

2) Mark Your Calendar for the Date / Time of Kick-off Webcast: Note the date / time for our kick-off webcast. Please join us for this live session if you are available, or watch the recording if you are not.

3) (Optional) To help spread the word about the project, please introduce yourself as a service-learner on the project using one of the noted social media tools using hashtag #oerccr.