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Meramec Campus

Hubble Combines Technology and Teaching to Help Students Learn

Senior Instructional Designer Linda Hubble

Like many on campus, Linda Hubble is in a predominantly “behind the scenes” role, but her work impacts Meramec students daily.

Born and raised in central Iowa, Linda is a certificated classroom teacher with a Master of Science in Curriculum and Instructional Technology from Iowa State University. She has been with St. Louis Community College for 20 years, serving as a senior instructional designer at the Meramec and Forest Park campuses.

What exactly does an instructional designer do?

“Instructional design is a systematic approach to designing learning experiences, curriculum and programs,” Linda said, “It sounds rather sterile, but the nature of the process always starts with the question, “What do you want the students to be able to know or do as a result of this experience?” So we always, to quote Lewis Carroll, “begin at the beginning” with a needs assessment and establish goals and objectives.”

That’s not all.

“We also need to know characteristics of the learner population; what they know already, whether prior learning needs to be activated for this learning; available resources to support the project, timeline, and a process for testing or assessing the outcome of the design – whether the project meets the learning needs identified at the beginning.”

Linda was an early user of technology in the classroom, using computers as a college student and again when she began her career teaching elementary special education. Using computers in the classroom is what lead her to the instructional design field.

“I taught elementary special education in the mid 80’s; a K-6 Self-Contained classroom with 8 students. I had also completed an “experimental” course in college called “Computers in Education” using 64K Apples. When I arrived at my job, I was essentially the only teacher who knew how to use the computer and so they let me keep one of the “carts” in my classroom,” she said. “At the time, special education was the only curricular area for which there was substantial funding and so I purchased some of the software we evaluated in my coursework. I was able to observe a couple of my students exceed the expectations of their individualized education plans, from kindergarten level math concepts to 4th grade level. One of my good friends agreed to let my student come to her math period with my fulltime teacher aide and participate with her students. I was hooked on the quest to explore how technology can support learning, not drive it.”

In March, Linda presented her project, “Study Strategies & Student Engagement Using Wikis: Collaborative Note Taking with the Cornell Method” at the SloanC blended learning conference, and was the recipient of the Effective Practice award at their blended learning conference. She has also won the Meramec Outstanding Professional Staff award, and was a district “Innovation of the Year” award winner as part of a production team. It is a project she counts as one of her favorites. 

“(Professor of Mass Communications) Diane Carson proposed a series of four instructional websites, three of which I believe are still being utilized, to demonstrate for and tutor students about film and video production techniques including how to record various types of camera shots, editing techniques and sound production. We produced one series per year over a five-year time period. The ultimate satisfaction of these projects came from the instructor feedback about how helpful and beneficial the materials were to students.”

Achieving award-winning results isn’t easy, and oftentimes brings challenges. What are some of the challenges of working at Meramec?

“Helping people to understand the process and time required to produce quality work. It just seems that we respond to a large volume of requests with not enough time to levy our expertise in a professional capacity,” she said. “We can turn things around very quickly, but given enough planning time, we can deliver exceptional quality. Again, the projects completed with Diane Carson are the result of considerable and methodical planning, content development…revision, revision, revision…and organizing a production schedule that everyone helped to create.”

She added, “The instructional web projects we completed stand out by far as projects that required a team approach and most closely demonstrate the professional quality of work of which we are capable.” 

Even with the challenges of her job, what does Linda enjoy most about working at Meramec?

“Hands-down, it’s the people. We are experiencing significant reorganization, loss of staff and reduction in resources. I appreciate the people who work on this campus in support of our students, and regardless of the challenges, I truly believe that everyone understands why we are here.”

Linda is also an adjunct faculty member at Meramec, teaching Children’s Literature as well as completing an online graduate certificate in Adult Reading and Learning. In her little bit of spare time, she enjoys spending time with her husband and friends at home, and when she gets time for herself, she enjoys sewing, scrapbooking and card making. However, teaching is a recurring theme with Linda, and it is something she wants to continue and do more of in the future.

“I believe I want to transition back into teaching during the last phase of my professional life,” she said. “I love teaching, I love trying to find the “key” that helps to empower someone else and move forward; it’s different for everyone. I truly believe that education is empowering and we have moved beyond “learn a trade, work for 40 years and then retire.” Adult life for my daughter’s generation will include learning for a lifetime and continual growth and change, and I believe I have something to contribute to that process.”