About Me

Here is my CV in PDF format.

Photo of Max Anderson.
Photo by Matt Kosterman, 2020.

I earned a Ph.D. in Instructional Technology from Northern Illinois University (2020).  I’m proud of this achievement as completing a doctoral degree has been a life-long dream.

My dissertation topic: Assessment of Faculty Acceptance of, Behavioral Intention to Use, and Actual Usage Behavior of Technology in Inquiry-Based Learning in Medical Education: Using the Unified Theory of Acceptance and Use of Technology. Yes, perhaps one of the longest dissertation titles ever. 

I work for the University of Illinois College of Medicine and based in Chicago, IL. My current professional experience is as an instructional designer (ID) / instructional technologist (IT), mainly in medical education. I have designed and developed instructional methods and curriculum in different formats (e.g., face-to-face, blended, fully online – synchronous and asynchronous).

I have many years of experience collaborating with faculty and subject matter experts (SME’s) using a wide variety of instructional design models and processes including: ADDIE, SAM, Quality Matters, Gagné’s Nine Events, and Mayer’s Multimedia Learning Model. Currently, my focus is online and hybrid for professional development and higher education.

With my friend & dissertation chair, Dr. Cindy York at the Association for Educational Communications and Technology (AECT) conference in 2019.

It is imperative that we as instructional designers work to create learning experiences that motivate learners and that foster deeper and more meaningful levels of skills development and knowledge transfer and retention.

The term instructional design refers to the systematic development, delivery, and evaluation of effective and engaging learning products and experiences with which to motivate learners toward specific learning outcomes. As an instructional designer, I begin by identifying where there are opportunities to improve skills and performance among a targeted set of learners. This is followed by the design and implementation of learning experiences that meet these opportunities by building courses, instructional manuals, tutorials, workshops, simulations, and more.

An important aspect of my work is to use evidence-based pedagogical research and practices to ensure a positive experience for the learner. There are many theories and models in the ID world. Here are some of them:

  • Situated Cognition Theory
  • Sociocultural Learning Theory
  • ADDIE Model
  • SAM & SAM2
  • Merrill’s Principles of Instruction (I have met David Merrill a few times – very great guy!)
  • Inquiry-based Learning
  • Elaboration Theory

As an ID at my current institution, I design solutions that are functional, attractive, and appealing to the end-users – our medical students, staff, and faculty. I have established problem-solving procedures to aid in making informed decisions about curricular design. instructional technologists (ITs) help facilitate educators’ use of various technologies that they need to accomplish their jobs. It is certainly realistic that one can have either title and the capacity to have both skill-sets. There is a lot of overlap between the two.

I work closely with the faculty at our three campuses of UICOM (Chicago, Peoria, and Rockford). I bring my experience in learning theories, online teaching methodologies, learning management systems, and creative ways to incorporate effective web tools and technologies to engage our students and hopefully enhance instructional experiences. Medical education draws on the following disciplines: physical, human and biological sciences, humanities, social / behavioral sciences, and clinical sciences. In today’s medical schools, these disciplines are combined together rather than like in the past, as separate courses. Our faculty members have attained mastery of the course content and valuable classroom experience to inform course development. I work with them to develop a shared understanding of the course content and sequencing. To aid in their professional development, I created, manage, and am the primary contributor to a faculty and staff development website for the University of Illinois College of Medicine (UICOM): http://comfaculty.uic.edu. An aside: I prefer the term upskilling over faculty development because it sounds like people are somehow under-developed. Maybe it’s a semantic thing as I digress. 🙂

At the most fundamental level, instructional designers and technologists are intermediaries, bridging the intellectual and attitudinal gaps that exist between instructors and students, and facilitate the use of those supported technologies which they need to accomplish their roles. While faculty members are experts in their respective fields of study, they do not necessarily possess all the knowledge and skills needed to handle and manage the myriad (and often changing) technological tools which they are expected to use, particularly in an online environment. It falls to instructional designers and technologists to offer them as-needed guidance, training, and technical support.

Another key role which instructional technologists play is to continually explore new ways in which technology can enhance the educational process. As new and sometimes transformative technologies regularly emerge, it is the instructional technologists that use their technical aptitudes along with knowledge of pedagogical principles and theory to innovate new and improved solutions to educational challenges.

I have been the instructional designer at the University of Illinois College of Medicine, Chicago campus since December 2013. I was the first to have that role in the college. In late 2018, I was promoted to be the first-ever Director of Instructional Design and Learning Innovation for the college. This was a new role created specifically with me in mind. I continue to work closely with faculty to design, plan, and evaluate the curriculum. I lead a regular series of workshops designed to create stronger communities of teaching and learning. I am also an instructor in the Department of Medical Education, the oldest and largest such department of scholarly research in medical education in the world.

In addition to instructional design, I have a Masters of Library and Information Studies (MLIS) from Florida State University (’99). Most of my library career has involved teaching others (e.g., other librarians, public health workers, clinicians, scientists, etc.) how to use technology more effectively for specific purposes.

My experience in the library world gives me a unique ability to be an excellent searcher in library databases. I synthesize the medical education and instructional design literature to advise administration and faculty on current theories and trends, to meet the changing demands of the academic environment.

UIC uses Blackboard as the learning management system (LMS). I work closely with faculty to determine the best student-centered design using evidence-based principles. I am a member of the Learning Management System Governance Board for the University of Illinois. This group has the awesome responsibility to determine how to best make use of our LMS for a wide variety of purposes. I have also partnered with other offices in our college to analyze confidential data on student performance, faculty instruction, curriculum content, and delivery. I create longitudinal benchmarks with this data for our teaching faculty and staff.

NIU Huskies Logo

I successfully defended my doctoral dissertation in Instructional Technology at Northern Illinois University and graduated in May 2020.

My research aims to understand and improve teaching, learning, and participation in inquiry-based learning (IBL) environments in medical education and to determine the appropriate educational technologies to meet their needs and goals. I use IBL as an umbrella term to include case-based learning (CBL), problem-based learning (PBL), and team-based learning (TBL). I achieve this by examining the literature, as well as practices and experiences of learners, educators, and scholars with/in IBL activities and integration of educational technologies.

ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-6765-4015

Google Scholar: https://scholar.google.com/citations?view_op=list_works&hl=en&user=7AqCy2IAAAAJ

Slides: https://www.slideshare.net/maxlibris