Making Sense of Crisis: Instructional Designers’ Experiences with Emergency Remote Teaching


  • Rhia Moreno Augusta University
  • Lee D. Flood Augusta University
  • Meredith A Rausch Augusta University
  • Arthur Takahashi Augusta University
  • Stacy L Kluge Augusta University



instructional design, faculty training, sensemaking, emergency remote teaching, online learning


Following the transition to e-learning due to COVID-19, instructional designers (IDs) went into action to prepare faculty for distance education using new technologies and pedagogical approaches. The purpose of this qualitative study was to interpret how five members of an ID team at a U.S. higher education institution made sense of their experiences designing and implementing faculty-training courses to aid the emergency remote transition. Using sensemaking theory (Weick, 1988), this study explored their collective meaning-making process through collaborative multistep narrative and thematic analysis. The themes progressed on a storyline depicting their immediate action in response to the crisis, their felt emotions considering the challenges they encountered, their interpretations of collaboration and implementation, and their retrospective feelings of success. Implications of findings will contribute to continuity planning to inform future iterations of faculty-training courses as well as approaches to change and/or crisis impacting online instructional innovation within higher education.

Author Biographies

Rhia Moreno, Augusta University

Assistant Professor, Department for Research, Counseling and Curriculum

Lee D. Flood, Augusta University

Assistant Professor, Department for Research, Counseling and Curriculum

Meredith A Rausch, Augusta University

Associate Professor, Department for Research, Counseling and Curriculum

Arthur Takahashi, Augusta University

Instructional Designer, Center for Instuctional Innovation

Stacy L Kluge, Augusta University

Instructional Design Manager, Center for Instuctional Innovation


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Section II