finish lines

Dr. Andrea Zellner getting signatures after defending her dissertation.
Dr. Andrea Zellner getting signatures after defending her dissertation.

This past week, I was privileged to witness two amazing PhD candidates I know cross the finish line of defending their dissertations. Congratulations, Dr. Andrea Zellner and Dr. Erik Skogsberg! The hours, days, weeks, months, years, and the perseverance people like you demonstrate toward major life accomplishments like this are an inspiration to people like me. You both finished strong and have so much to be proud of. That goes for you and all the people who have surround you and supported you in this. Celebration is now in store, and well deserved, I might add. I hope you both are able to relax, reflect, and enjoy the feelings of accomplishment you deserve to feel.

Dr. Erik Skogsberg with wife Amy and son Ezra at graduation ceremony.
Dr. Erik Skogsberg with wife Amy and son Ezra at graduation ceremony.

I can only imagine all the reading, writing, pouring over data, late nights, meetings, classes, thinking, discussions, revisions, hurdles, and the many challenges you must have experienced these past years leading up to this monumental week. The sacrifices you’ve had to make and commitment you’ve demonstrated are beyond what people are able to comprehend who haven’t gone before you. In fact, even people who have gone before you can’t fully understand your own unique experiences you’ve had and the difficulties you’ve overcome in a venture like this.  I’m sure there were days where you questioned if it was all worth it. I’m positive there were times you wanted to throw in the towel. But you didn’t. You fought through and you’ve crossed the finish line to a degree that maybe 1 in 500 people in the world have received, if that.

Personally, I’ve been considering the possibility of pursuing a doctorate for some time now. I’m apprehensive. Only recently, since Lindsay and my three boys all began school this past year have I been meeting with folks like you both who have gone before and charted new territories such as these. I’ve been gathering advice and continue to do so. One of the questions I like to ask is:

What is it you wish you had known in the early days when you were deciding to do a terminal degree like this? 

I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Thanks, in advance & congratulations,

-dave

 

 

hello, world!

Gibson and me at Binder Park Zoo
Gibson and me at Binder Park Zoo in Battle Creek, MI

Friends,

They say you are a writer if nothing makes you more excited than a blank page.

Maybe that makes me a writer?

I don’t know, I think a writer is someone who writes and writes often because it is in their bones.

I’m excited to start a brand-new writing and reflective practice here in this space. Much of it will be for my own learning and growth as someone considering the prospects of being a PhD candidate, but I also plan to reflect on my life as a husband, a father, a musician, an educator and a learning designer.

I look forward to connecting with those of you who might join me in the practice of writing as reflection as we trod our learning paths together.

Thanks for stopping by!

The rangerdavie blog has retired…

I’ve decided to take my writing endeavors to rebuild a new social presence over at daveg.msu.domains.

Well folks, it has been a great ten years or so here at WordPress.com!

I’ve decided to take my writing endeavors to rebuild a new social presence over at daveg.msu.domains.

Hope to see you there!

You stay classy, my dear readers.

-Dave

LCC’s 2nd OER Summit

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Image shared on Twitter by Eric Kunnen

On Friday, I was fortunate to have been able to attend the 2nd annual Lansing Community College Open Educational Resources Summit. I attended last year when David Wiley was the keynote and it was outstanding. This year’s keynote was Dr. Cable Green who is the Director of Open Education at Creative Commons. It was an amazing day of learning, sharing and making connections with others in the field I hadn’t known before.

For instance, as seen in this panel image which was the culminating event at the Summit, I learned about Joseph Mold who is the Director of Online Learning & Instructional Design at Bay College in our beautiful Michigan Upper Peninsula. The work they have been doing on behalf of student success and faculty autonomy with OER is one of the most compelling examples I have learned of to date. You can see a glimpse into some of their efforts and accomplishments in the two short videos below:

I nearly missed this year because it somehow was not on my radar. Fortunately, Regina Gong (Chair of this great Summit) mentioned this year’s summit over the weekend on Twitter. I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to pull it off because of some previously scheduled meetings I had on my calendar, but thanks to my kind colleagues who covered for me, I was able to attend.

You can follow the active twitter stream that ensued here at #LCCOER or at #GoOpen. Don’t miss Eric Kunnen’s infamous note taking skills on his WordPress site too. It’s probably the next best thing to actually being there.

Looking forward to next year already! Thank you, Regina and all the great folks who helped put this together! 

Winners Announced! Aquent Design for Good Grant Opportunity

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Last month, I submitted a video application for a $5,000 grant opportunity to fund the nonprofit organization of my choice around a design challenge. I did so on behalf of Energizing Education in Jackson, Michigan. Although my video was not a finalist in the chosen recipients, it was still a really good experience to take part in and I am so impressed with all the great submissions that came in from around the world for this opportunity.

If anything, check out the 5 Recipients and join me in celebrating this great accomplishment! Also, a huge shout out to Aquent and to Vitamin Talent for making this grant opportunity possible. Thank you, so much!

Monica Bloom is the Creative Director of “Vitamin T” and invited us to join her in a virtual celebration to congratulate the 5 Recipients of the Aquent Design For Good grants:

*clap clap clap* *horn blast!*

Here they are!

  1. Give a Beat
  1. North Carolina Coalition Against Domestic Violence
  1. Khushi Baby
  1. American Story Project
  1. Understanding Our Differences

See the entire collection of all the submissions on Aquent’s gallery page. Grab your handkerchiefs. You will be glad you did.

Great work, everyone! I’m way impressed. I love watching people getting their hands dirty while changing the world.

Teacher trust

 

TurtleI would do so many things differently than I did those first years of teaching.

I made so many grave mistakes.

I have a vivid memory of a 10th grade Biology lesson I was giving one day in the late Spring when my students were fidgety and seemingly unable to focus on what I’m sure was an incredibly engaging lesson (insert sarcasm font here). It got to the point where I had to stop the lesson and go off script which wasn’t my forte, especially when opening up a difficult conversation with a class of 35 students in the room.

I remember being genuinely nervous, but realizing how important it was for me to express my concern about how the class was going as I felt like I wasn’t getting through to any of them that day. I don’t remember exactly what I said, but I expressed my concern in a very honest and frank way. I opened it up to the room on the spot to provide some ideas on how we could make it through the rest of the year without me blowing a gasket. I also admitted that I needed to figure out a way to know I was doing my job as a teacher better.

I think this vulnerability I stepped into in a way that was clearly not planned is what really grabbed their attention to the point where it was eerily silent in the room at first. I remember practicing to wait and embrace that awkward silence to let trust develop and courage for people to speak up honestly with it me not passing judgement or taking offense to the fact that my teaching approach was clearly not working. Ideas started flowing from the room on how we could address the challenge together.

Of course, things never got perfect after that, but I do recall an enormous shift that took place even toward the end of the year where me and my students had a better understanding of each other. That moment catalyzed deeper trust for everyone in the room to speak up or connect with me personally when things just weren’t working for them.

I will never forget that the courage of honesty in moments like those (rather than losing my cool) was constructive for building the essential trust there must be between a teacher and their students.

Now to the daily challenge of putting this courage to practice moment-by-moment.

Nomadic Designer Syndrome

Today, I have been boxing up my stuff. A few of us on the Learning Design team are running an experiment. We are clearing out our individual work spaces and opening them up for anyone to use. In turn, much of our time will be spent over in the new space renovated for the Hub.

Hello, my name is Dave and I have Nomadic Designer Syndrome.

I don’t know what that means because I just made it up.

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Hub Space being built in Wells Hall.

Today, I have been boxing up my stuff. A few of us on the Learning Design team are running an experiment. We are clearing out our individual work spaces and opening them up for anyone to use. In turn, much of our time will be spent over in the new space renovated for the Hub.

This new Hub space is in the D-Wing of Wells Hall on Michigan State’s campus directly east of the football stadium. Over the summer, the space has been gutted and transformed into an open office work environment. A substantial portion of the area is also designated for networking and collaboration with the intent of cultivating innovation.

img_6022This isn’t the first time I’ve made a transition to an open office environment. In one assignment, I shared an office with 9 other people. There were no cubicles. We all worked facing each other using standing desks. It was not easy at first for me to adjust. I was under an illusion that I would be more creative and productive in isolation, but the opposite ended up being true. In fact, having my colleagues all around me to bounce ideas off of all day was invigorating even for someone like me who is more naturally inclined to introversion. Sure, there were challenges we experienced, but we were able to build a culture around a code of conduct that worked for us as a team.

One thing is for sure.

Innovation is messy.

img_6023That’s why I’m most excited about the Hub’s approach inviting collaborators all around campus to co-work and innovate with us.

We open for business on Monday, October 10th. Please note that there will be lots of movement and noise, as we will still be moving in.. Who am I kidding? It is intended to be a loud and energetic space from day one. Please come on by and say hello. Better yet, consider setting up shop at one of our open workstations to connect, create opportunities and innovate with us.

We also have an open house on October 27th from 9am to 6pm. All are welcome to join.

Those of us involved in the Hub look forward to continued collaborations with you in learning and scholarship at Michigan State University.

IDEO HCD Process

The folks at IDEO have made a reputation of being an award-winning global design firm that coined the “human-centered” approach to design thinking.

 

Description of framework

screen-shot-2016-09-26-at-10-14-30-amThe folks at IDEO have made a reputation of being an award-winning global design firm that coined the “human-centered” approach to design thinking. They use this strategy effectively to help a diverse portfolio of organizations to both innovate and grow. IDEO’s president and CEO Tim Brown describes design thinking itself as:

“… a human-centered approach to innovation that draws from the designer’s toolkit to integrate the needs of people, the possibilities of technology, and the requirements for business success.”

So, what does this look like?

For one thing, it isn’t necessarily linear. In fact, IDEO recognizes that each project and client they work with invariably has its own context and character. At the same time, they do identify three primary phases that each design thinking project experiences. Conveniently, each phase begins with the letter “I”:

  • Inspiration
  • Ideation
  • Implementation

These three phases create space for the designer to do three primary things:

  1. Inspiration: Build and nourish deep empathy for individuals and communities they are designing for.
  2. Ideation: Inform the design of new solutions around improved understood of the problems they face.
  3. Implementation: Creating space to test ideas and prototypes of these solutions before implementing them.  

IDEO goes on to explain that the way organizations can transform the way they develop products, services, processes and strategy by thinking creatively like a designer. They propose that it is possible for professionals to use the creative tools of designers and approaches they use to solve a vast array of challenges even if they have never had formal training as a designer. This is because they describe design thinking itself as a deeply human process that draws on tacit knowledge we all intuitively have which can be overshadowed by more conventional problem-solving practices.

The IDEO website describes design thinking as a method that “relies on our ability to be intuitive, to recognize patterns, to construct ideas that are emotionally meaningful as well as functional, and to express ourselves through means beyond words or symbols.”

They caution that over-reliance on methods that are strictly analytical or rational can be just as risky as running an organization on feeling or intuitions alone. As IDEO walks with clients into new visions of what their operations could look like in the future, they use a holistic mix of both analytical tools and generative techniques. They do this using design thinking as an integrated “third way” that isn’t pigeonholed into just one way of thinking.

This results in activities that integrate business model prototyping, data visualization, innovation strategy, organizational design, qualitative and quantitative research, and IP liberation. Each of these methods is done with conscious consideration of both the capabilities of the clients and the needs of their customers. Before a final solution is designed, there are multiple iterations that are relying on feedback loops and assessments that inform each rapid modification. The goal is to deliver appropriate, actionable and tangible strategies that result in new and innovative options for growth each of which are grounded in business viability and market demands.

According to their website, IDEO’s approaches have helped them achieve some of the following milestones as an organization:

  • Ranked as one of the most innovative companies in the world by business leaders in a global survey by Boston Consulting Group
  • Ranked #10 on Fast Company’s list of the Top 25 Most Innovative Companies
  • Winner of 38 Red Dot awards, 28 iF Hannover awards, and more IDEA awards than any other design firm
  • Ranked #16 on Fortune’s list of 100 most-favored employers by MBA students
  • Awarded the Smithsonian Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum’s National Design Award for Product Design

References

You can read more at:

The Story Behind Ranger Davie (2 truths and a lie)

Canoe in water by Pahala Basuki
Canoe in water shared freely on Unsplash.com by Pahala Basuki

Dave is often referred to as Ranger Davie due to the honorary doctorate he was awarded in Natural Resource and Wildlife Management while studying remotely in the late 60s from Penn Forest State University’s Distance Learning Department. He accomplished this by single-handedly (his other hand was gruesomely severed by a reclusive wolverine) fishing in his canoe for a year in an undisclosed wetland in the Northern Boreal Forest of Canada.

While Dave continues to disappear on the weekends to impudently manage various state and federal parks across this great land, during the week you will find him helping faculty and administration with learning experience design projects at Michigan State University.

Dave is both a musician and photographer. He and his wife live in Jackson, Michigan. Together they own Meadow Lace Photography and have three young boys.