Instructional design and teaching in the 21st century classroom

March 18, 2020

Sharee Baskin with a child

When Sharee Baskin, MSID '18, began her teaching career, her entire class shared one desktop computer. As the wave of technology flooded the education system, teachers needed to catch up quickly on how to effectively use applications, software and multimedia files in the classroom.

Today, as you roam the halls of most K-12 schools in the United States, you will find 21st century classrooms filled with students working with gamified applications, collaborating on PowerPoint presentations or watching videos relating to a lesson.

As technology advanced, Baskin became interested in learning how to effectively design digital lessons for her students. Quinnipiac’s MS in Instructional Design challenged Baskin to develop expertise in evaluating digital resources and implementing digital learning for her students.

Baskin strives for excellence in her profession which is why she needed to understand the how and why of teaching responsibly and purposefully with technology. When she designs lessons for her third-grade class, she asks herself, “What am I going to expect them to produce that is meaningful?”

From her instructional design degree earned at Quinnipiac, she can effectively design lessons that teach her students how to own their learning.

For example, during the class ecosystem unit, each student learned to use multiple platforms and skills to research and create multimedia presentations. The students used sites such as Discovery Education and National Geographic for Kids along with books to gather information.

When it came time to put it all together, Baskin taught her third graders how to creatively convey the information using the design principles she learned at Quinnipiac. She taught her students to pay attention to key components such as font, picture location, backgrounds, and more.

The third grade students learned how to effectively tell their ecosystem story using digital technology. These lessons go beyond the end result of a PowerPoint presentation.

Baskin taught her students how to research responsibly, use critical reading and writing skills and create a visual graphic design that communicates key concepts.

Her third graders learned responsible ownership of their learning that will be of value inside and outside of the classroom for years to come.

Baskin’s instructional design degree opened other opportunities for her as well. Her confidence grew in her ability to create, use and understand different facets of technology.

Not only is she a 21st century classroom teacher, she is a tech-savvy mom who can help her grade-school son navigate the tricky world of social media and his online presence.

The MS in Instructional Design also led her to freelance for a local summer camp where she creates advertisements, posts on social media and updates the camp's website. Baskin is proud of her accomplishments and credits this program for teaching her how to utilize her skills in and out of the classroom.

As Baskin reflects on her journey, she remembers that it was not an easy decision to return to school. She had questions like, “How am I going to make this work?” and “Can I fit this into our lives?”

Baskin had her doubts, but with the support of her family and coworkers, she settled into her first instructional design class and began to feel like she was part of something bigger. She got to know her classmates and professors through discussions on Blackboard and group projects.

As her classmates turned into friends, she felt that everything fell into place. As graduation neared, Baskin thought about her accomplishments and the example she set for her son. She knew the fitting culmination was to celebrate with her family and QU friends at Quinnipiac's graduation ceremony.

Baskin remembers the day as a “fairytale ending.”

"It’s a small amount of time for a lifetime of learning," shared Baskin.

Q & A

Why did you become a teacher?

Teaching is something I have always wanted to do. Honestly, I never saw myself doing anything else. I want to be an awesome teacher just the way my teachers were for me.

What teacher made a big impact on you?

Mrs. Amezquita, my sixth-grade teacher, is one of those teachers who I will always carry near and dear to my heart. Today, we follow each other on Facebook and she still encourages her former students.

In high school, Mrs. Toth made a huge impression on me in my senior year. She helped aide me in all my college paperwork and showed me that the sky is the limit.

What lesson did you learn about yourself throughout the program?

Looking back on the program I learned that I am a lifelong learner and am not afraid to tackle a challenge.

What was your motivation behind getting your Instructional Design degree?

My driving force was my son. Of course, I pursued the degree to achieve my aspirations of teaching technology in the classroom, but my son was my constant motivation. I wanted him to see me pursue my goals.

Having him there on graduation day was amazing.

"I am most grateful for the role model I have become for my son," remarked Baskin.

What course did you enjoy the most?

I can say that I truthfully enjoyed all my classes for different reasons, but the ones I enjoyed the most were the ones that involved video production because it pushed me outside of my comfort zone.

What did you learn in the Instructional Design program that you apply to your profession?

As a classroom teacher, I am responsible for creating learning content for my students. Everything I have learned in the program applies to that.

What advice would you give yourself if you could go back on the day you started this program?

Slow down and take it all in. Sometimes it was tricky being a mom, wife, teacher and student. There were days where I had a large to-do list. If I could go back, I would tell myself that it’s okay to slow down and celebrate the little accomplishments.

Is there anything you would like to add?

The MS in Instructional Design program pushes you outside your boundaries and you find a strength you didn’t know you had.


The instructional design program challenges students to leverage effective instructional design thinking. Explore how Quinnipiac's online MS in Instructional Design can give you the tools teach effectively in the 21st century classroom.

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