Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Where are all the instructional design programs in Seattle?

With so many tech companies looking for instructional designers in Seattle, I find it odd that none of the colleges nor universities here offer any programs in Instructional Design (ID) or Educational Technology (EdTech).  Why is it that so many companies in Seattle are looking for instructional designers, yet no higher education programs in Instructional Design exist here?  As an instructional designer who moved to Washington from Hawaii, this was a dream come true for me. So many jobs to choose from, so little time.  However, once I received my PhD (with an emphasis in Educational Technology) from the University of Hawaii and was looking to potentially teach in the field of Instructional Design, this situation was a bit confusing.  Let me explain.

When I first arrived in Washington from Hawaii around the fall of 2010, I promptly searched for Instructional Design positions within the area.  I had my Masters degree in Educational Technology and was towards the end of completing my PhD.  I was astounded by how many ID positions I could apply for.  I remember when scanning the job sites, I applied to around three positions every day.  In Hawaii, an Instructional Designer was fortunate to even see an ID position appear once every six months.  In Washington, I applied to  several places including Bellevue Community College (now Bellevue College) and the Washington State Bar Association.

Eventually, after a brief stint of working as an office assistant at Nintendo (which I might add was one of the greatest jobs EVER, just for the fact that they have meeting rooms named after characters from the Super Mario series and video game consoles in each building that you can play with on your break), I landed a job with a company called Ellucian, which was providing IT and instructional design services for Seattle University.  I worked with a few great instructional designers there, all of whom previously lived in another part of the US, and had a wonderful time providing training services for faculty and staff.

Unfortunately, within two years, Seattle University decided to switch their instructional designer services to another office in-house.  Therefore, I was laid off and back looking for another job.  Fortunately, I was able to find many instructional design jobs to apply to every day.  I was still astounded with the amount instructional design positions available within Seattle and the Eastside, even two years later after my first job search within Washington. Within six months, I found another job at the Washington State Board of Community and Technical Colleges (SBCTC) and was working again with another great group of Instructional Designers. Interestingly, all of them were from outside of Washington.

Another two years roll by, and I then applied for an Assistant Professor/Faculty Lead position at Northwest University in Kirkland, WA.  Basically, they needed someone who had a background in Educational Technology/Instructional Design who could not only teach EdTech courses, but to coordinate the design and review the new online Education programs they were about to launch.  I worked with one other person from Washington State who was an instructional designer, but had received her degree in Educational Technology from outside of Washington State.  However, three years, after launching these programs, I was informed, again, that I was about to be laid off.

And now here I am back on the hunt for a new job again.  I am excited about the new possibilities out there and the new adventures I am about to take in my field.  I am not worried about finding another job since there are so many opportunities available where I live, whether it involves designing, teaching, or both.  However, my question is, why are colleges and universities around here not taking advantage of this need?  Why are there no ID programs around Washington State?  This is a big need that colleges and universities can fill and would greatly benefit many technology companies here as well as those looking for jobs in the education field.

I realize that I haven't included any hard data in this post.  Hopefully, in the near future, I can research this issue a bit more and find more information about this topic.  Maybe turn it into an article to submit to the Seattle Times?  We'll see.  For now, I need to return back to searching for that perfect ID job.

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