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

Rhia Moreno, Lee D. Flood, Meredith A. Rausch, Arthur Takahashi, Stacy L. Kluge

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)304-322
Number of pages19
JournalOnline Learning Journal
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2022


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

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Computer Networks and Communications


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