A veteran instructional designer for more than 15 years, Nedim Slijepcevic believes in accessibility and taking an active part in his student’s educational experience. Slijepcevic goes above and beyond to ensure his online students have just as much opportunity to interact and build a relationship with him as their on-campus counterparts. Slijepcevic’s personal attention and dedication to helping students reach their goals and feel connected to the university and each ither makes him a particular point of pride on EKU’s campuses, both in-person and virtual. We take great pride in offering the chance to get to know him a little better.
What brought you to EKU?
In 2006, after finishing my undergraduate and master’s degrees at SUNY Buffalo State College, I came to EKU to pursue an instructional designer position. I immediately liked EKU, Kentucky, and Kentuckians, as they reminded me of my home country, Bosnia and Herzegovina. Over the next 15 years, my career grew from instructional designer to faculty professional development manager to instructional design faculty.
Tell us a little about your work in your field.
My primary areas of academic interest are e-learning, community of inquiry (Col), and augmented reality for learning. I enjoy reading about project management (AGILE, LLAMA), digital media and its applications in learning, and other concepts related to instructional and learning design. Lately, I have been active with the Association for Talent Development’s (ATD) chapter in Louisville, ATD Kentuckiana, where I am a vice president of programming. I sought out this role to become more in tune with the learning design industry, to meet and collaborate with like-minded professionals, and to be able to provide our students opportunities that would result from making connections in the industry.
What moment at EKU stands out as most memorable?
My first class as faculty in the instructional design and learning technology program stands out. I met with my first cohort, and I was a little nervous at first. Having taught graduate courses, but never in a program that I have helped design and build, so I had to live up to high standards and expectations set by my students and me. I loved every minute of it. The students are great, willing to learn, ask questions, collaborate, and grow professionally. I can see them changing and growing professionally from course to course.
What is your approach to online teaching?
I love online learning, as it allows me to engage with my students in new ways. I’ve been a firm believer in collaborative learning, where instructors and learners work together, encourage each other, share ideas, projects and provide feedback. I am also a big proponent of project-based learning. Therefore, all the activities in this program are rooted in real-world applications, and students can use classwork as a part of their professional portfolios. I always strive to contact my students frequently, send them reminders, and be understanding when life happens. In return, they reward me with high-quality project submissions that are a joy to examine and provide feedback on.
What tactics or approaches do you use to aid in your student’s success?
I think the key to a successful online experience is to maintain an open line of communication. This includes virtual office hours, optional meeting sessions, prompt responses to emails, and other types of communication techniques that will help a student feel connected to the university, the program, the course, and the instructor.
Fostering a growth mindset in my courses and encouraging students to challenge themselves and reach for what they thought unattainable before is another approach to success. To help with this process, I coach students and provide timely, relevant, and measurable feedback on the work they create. Students are encouraged to resubmit their work as many times as they want until they reach the desired level of expertise.
What do you believe are the biggest advantages to online learning?
Online learning allows working professionals the flexibility to work on their studies while working or raising a family. This provides the opportunity to fit coursework into a busy schedule in a way that works best for each individual student. Online learning offers students the ability to learn anywhere-anytime, make and maintain meaningful connections with peers, and grow professionally while obtaining their master’s degree.
What have you been up to lately? (Research, projects, awards, etc.)
I am working on several projects. One is preparing a research paper on the faculty professional development academy I taught for five years. I am also writing a proposal for a book chapter on teaching online during emergencies. The final two significant projects include establishing internship opportunities for the IDLT students and building a database of real-world projects our students can use to complete their coursework.
What advice would you give to someone who’s considering finishing their degree, or starting for the first time as an adult?
My goal is to provide the students with skills that will land them a job while working on their masters or shortly after. I always tell my students to prepare their professional portfolios when interviewing for jobs. Constantly polishing and developing new skills. Completing internships, making connections with other learning and instructional design professionals via LinkedIn or other channels, and in general, being proactive when looking into changing or starting a new career. Those are the essential things that come to mind. We live in a constantly changing world and being adaptable is one of the most critical skills.
We are here to help you succeed, and I am here to help. Feel free to call or email me at any time.
Interested in advancing your instructional design career?
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