Instructional Design

The OIIE instructional design team supports the CUI community in designing, developing, and enhancing new or existing learning experiences. Whether for online, hybrid, or face-to-face settings, instructional designers provide guidance regarding best practices, and help create and implement innovative teaching and training solutions.

Seema Atalla

Director, Instructional Design


After studying comparative literature at UCLA, Seema Atalla began her career as a literary translator and community college professor. She taught in the English department at Mt. San Antonio College for nearly ten years, focusing mainly on developmental writing courses. She also initiated development of the Arabic language program for the Department of World Languages, writing curriculum and creating instructional materials, then becoming the first to teach Arabic classes at Mt. SAC.

Eventually she returned to graduate school to earn her M.S. in Instructional Design and Technology from Cal State Fullerton, completing a five-semester cohort-based program with honors. Her thesis project focused on high-impact practices that foster student engagement.

In 2015, Seema joined CUI as Assistant Director of Instructional Design. She served in that position for nearly three years, before her promotion to the role of Director in August 2018. As Director, she is tasked with managing online course development across all programs. She also continues to work one-on-one with subject matter experts to design and develop individual courses. At CUI, Seema appreciates the warm and welcoming community, and the chance to work with so many staff and faculty members across campus. She also enjoys the opportunities for Christian fellowship, and especially loves the traditional hymns at Tuesday-Thursday chapel.

Christie Newcomb

Instructional Designer


Christie Newcomb serves as Instructional Designer for the Office of Innovative Instruction and eLearning. Working with subject matter experts to design and develop courses, Christie loves to dive deep into curricular matters and find new and innovative ways to teach students.

Christie earned her Bachelor’s in Literary Journalism from UC Irvine in 2011, and after graduating, went on to earn a Master’s in Education (TESOL) in 2014. Since then, she has been teaching, conducting research on students’ writing and reading processes, and working with faculty to write curriculum and design courses that support students in their academic careers and beyond.

Her interest in instruction and eLearning developed at the University of California, Irvine, where she most recently served as an Academic Coordinator and Lecturer in the Program in Academic English/ESL and Composition. In this position, Christie developed and designed curriculum in addition to providing instructional support to faculty using LMS systems to foster learning, communication, and community in hybrid courses.

Christie also currently serves as the Children’s Ministry Director for Trinity Presbyterian Church of Orange County located in Orange, CA. Eager to share and teach the gospel, she found herself at Trinity nearly three years ago and has since become an expert in crafts and hand motions for children's Bible songs.

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