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.

How My Failure as a Teacher Began to Teach Me Lifelong Lessons.

I was a 2nd year teacher drop-out. I felt like a failure as a person and as a professional. Most of all, I felt like I had failed my high school science, biology and chemistry students.

photo-1453847668862-487637052f8aDropped out

I was a 2nd year teacher drop-out. I felt like a failure as a person and as a professional. Most of all, I felt like I had failed my high school science, biology and chemistry students.

It was November and I had been working long days trying to keep up the pace of lesson planning, grading and attempting to maintain some balance in my new professional life as a teacher.

I remember getting many warnings in my college days about the difficulties of being a teacher and especially in the first year, but I overestimated my abilities to keep pace with my own standards of perfectionism.

Burned out

Let’s be honest. I burnt out. I didn’t know what I was going to do, but I had to resign half way through the year leaving my students stranded and the high school scrambling to find a replacement. I put my resume out to nearly any job I could find but the market was nearly as grim as my own outlook.

You know what the worst part of it was? I loved education and I loved my students. How would anyone hire me in the field when I resigned from a full-time teaching appointment? I figured I wouldn’t be able to ever work in education again.

Substitute teaching

So I decided to start subbing.

Yes, that’s right, I was a substitute teacher right after quitting a full-time teaching job. Being a substitute teacher is hard enough in and of itself, but being one after being a teacher drop-out is excruciatingly humiliating. But I knew I needed to swallow my pride, focus on my own health first and then re-build myself as a professional from the ground up.

Things I learned

It was difficult times, but I had amazing family, friends and professionals who supported me through the dark night. I wouldn’t wish the circumstances on anyone, but I also wouldn’t trade the lessons I learned at the earliest days of my career for the world.

I was blessed with hard life-lessons on understanding my own limitations, on developing a healthy work-life balance, on understanding myself on a fundamentally human level vs. viewing my own self-worth through the lens of an externally professional reputation.

Still learning

Do I still struggle with these things?

Yes.

Have I arrived?

No.

Am I making any progress?

Every day.

Silver linings

And you know what?

I still am an educator.

Mostly, I get to work every day as a human being helping other people through the difficult and important work of teaching and learning.

*I am forever grateful for the many people in my life who have believed in me even when I haven’t believed in myself. I wouldn’t be here without you and I stand on your shoulders as I do the meaningful work of believing in others around me. 

Which gym would you join?

There once were three friends who’s names were all Jim.

Each of the Jims owned their own Gym.

  • Jim #1 tracked each client’s stats. The membership fees and the workouts completed.
  • Jim #2 tracked each client’s opinions. What worked and what didn’t and how did they feel?
  • But Jim #3 was unhappy with this whole operation. Business was fine but the community was ill.

So he decided to ask his clients what their fitness goals were.

He then grouped them together.

They made up a game for the fun of the order, with leaderboards and prizes, events and bling-bling.

Soon, teams were competing for the prize of their own fitness and were inviting their friends to join all the fun.

Which gym would you join?

Online Learner Success Resources (OER)

If you or anyone you know is interested in these kinds of resources, this is one on the topic of Online Learner Readiness worth your time thanks to the Creative Commons sharing by the California Community Colleges Online Education Initiative.

Need

Award icon
License: Creative Commons (Attribution 3.0 Unported) By Squid.ink

Just the other day I was in a faculty workshop in the College of Arts and Letters at Michigan State University where we touched on Quality Matters as a resource for all of MSU faculty. One of the questions that arose was if there were resources that were general enough to apply to any online learner in terms of preparing them for the online environment no matter what college or learning management system was being used. I mentioned that there were some valuable Open Educational Resources out there that can be remixed at will to any college’s needs.

Helpful modules

If you or anyone you know is interested in these kinds of resources, this is one on the topic of Online Learner Readiness worth your time thanks to the Creative Commons sharing by the California Community Colleges Online Education Initiative.

Please bookmark it if it is something you could build off from (again, it can be remixed freely with attribution of course) or share it with someone you think might find it valuable. I believe deep down that good things were meant to be shared.

Thanks to all of you everywhere who promote student success!

Asides

This was another quick quiz my colleague Susan Halick shared with me from Lansing Community College on the topic of “Are online courses right for me?” and my friends over at Michigan Virtual University also created similar resources for new online learners through a tool called OLOT (Online Learning Orientation Tool).

If Trump Led Our Public Universities…

Red wall iconLet’s build a wall in education.

No-one can be admitted unless they meet our carefully crafted requirements.

The ones who don’t get through we will make pay for it.

That way we can only admit the people who are like us so that we can make more and more of us and trample out the masses.

…or let’s not.

Bridge icon

Instead, we will build bridges for the brilliant and beautiful public.

We will work toward setting them up for success so that they can learn from us and we from them.

Sure, it will be messy work and hard work, but it is our job as a public university. It is what we are payed to do by the public we serve. We will likely even have to actually pay for the bridge construction.

But which kind of learning organizations do you think will make a better world?

Ones with walls? Or ones with bridges?

These are the questions we face in our organizations.

Spartan helmetI am proud of being part of a public university reputedly building bridges. #SpartansWill

Truly and astonishingly, these are the questions we face in our world, today.

(I probably goes without saying, but anything I post on my blog having anything to do with politics or opinions in general are not and should not be considered a representation of any organization I work for, but are my own alone). 

People Trump Technology

Image of Robin Williams, 1951-2014
Robin Williams, 1951-2014

“Before the internet there was just a man running around saying, ‘I know, I know” – Robin Williams

This morning, I came into work and was glad to see Dr. Leigh Graves Wolf using our new open office working space here in Wills House. Her recent campus open office working tour has been so fun to lurk behind to find new nooks to study and collaborate. Thanks, Leigh.

So, I walk in the door and she asks me if I know anything about birds. These are my favorite kinds of delightful questions.

I know a couple things here and there just due to personal interest. I have sat in on a college ornithology course once and I have met up with our Jackson Audubon Society on random occasions over the years.

Lucky for me, she had recorded the sound of the call that was distinct to her as she was walking to our building. She played it back for me. I thought it was an Eastern Towhee possibly, but I just had to get to the bottom of it.

Black-Capped Chickadee
Black-Capped Chickadee

So, I turned to my friend, Google. After grueling seconds of not getting anywhere due to having a hard time figuring out how to identify a bird on the internet with only the call sound in my head, I realized that a much more efficient searching rout would be to call up my friend Gary Mason who I used to work with at Spring Arbor University. Gary is heavily involved in the Jackson Audubon Society and knows more about Michigan Birds and other natural wonders than anyone I know.

So, I did what anyone frustrated with the limitations of technology would do. I used an older technology of the telephone land-line to give him a ring at his desk. He not only answered right away, but was able to identify the bird immediately even with my own botched attempt at trying to make the sound over the phone.

It was the Black-Capped Chickadee.

I was way off.

samsonite-i-was-way-off-o
A funny looped scene from Dumb and Dumber where Loyd and Harry mistake the last name of the girl they are looking for with the brand of the suite case they are holding.

#ET4online Reflection

Eight years

MSU Group Picture at #ET4online 2015That is how long I had been wanting to attend a Sloan-C (OLC) conference.

This was the year to make it finally happen. Thankfully, this was just in time to catch the last Emerging Technologies Symposium in Dallas Texas.

It was so good. I would even go as far as saying it was possibly better than the barbeque.

I’m late to the blog reflection thing, but when I read Michelle’s, Phil’s, & Patrice’s, I knew I had to dust of my blog again and say a little something. I will share a couple highlights and then end the post with a picture gallery of the trip.

Why was it so good?

MSU ShoesWell, it would have been good if I had only attended the conference on my own, but there were eight of us that were there together who came all the way from East Lansing’s Michigan State University.

That’s right, eight. It was awesome. We presented multiple times and represented MSU well, I’d say. Dr. Jessica Knott (@jlknott) even wore the shoes to prove it.

Humanize

Jess, Michelle and Dave SelfieOne of the highlights of the trip was that I finally was able to meet Michelle Pacansky-Brock (@brocansky) in person. I have attended many of her sessions virtually in the past. Because Michelle is an expert on humanizing your online courses, I felt like I knew her already. So, a hearty thank you not only to the internet, but to Michelle who helps me learn how to use it for good rather than be used by it.

This was the first session Nate Evans (@nateevans) and I attended. Michelle presented along with Jill Leafstedt (@JLeafstedt)  and Kristi O’Neil (@kristi_oneil)  from California State University, Channel Islands. Their session was filled to capacity, had lively discussion and even provided the best one-page session infographic handout I have experienced to date at any conference. I wouldn’t expect anything less from the likes of @brocansky. My favorite takeaway from this session was the epic quote: “Don’t be a robot.” Duly noted. That advice is probably far deeper than it might appear on the surface. Am I wrong?

If you want to see more scrambled thoughts on the session, you can explore my feeble attempt to invite publicly collaborative note-taking from attendees of the conference.

Technology Test Kitchen

People interacting with technologyBetween sessions, it was convenient to network and connect with others naturally at the constantly running technology test kitchen which was organized in part by my office roommate, the infamous and aforementioned Dr. Jessica Knott (@jlknott). I was pleased to have grown my personal learning network through this by connecting in-person with people like Laura, Ben, Amy, Michael, Patrice, MahaAlan, Bonnie, Eric, Phil, & Gardner!

Faculty Development

I was reminded of the importance of partnering with offices of institutional quality and improvement at Robert Rivas & Julie Lyon’s session. They presented on Creating an Online Teaching Certification Program for Faculty Development which they had done from Odessa College’s Global Office. The results they shared of retention numbers alone they had tracked was compelling enough to listen to what they had to say. Great work, friends.

Critical Thinking for Online Teaching

Dr. Weiland giving his sessionAnother major highlight was seeing that Dr. Steve Weiland was going to be presenting at the conference on “The Problem with Best Practices: Critical Thinking for Online Teaching.” Dr. Weiland is an MSU faculty member who teaches in the HALE program in the College of Education. I will leave you with a couple of prominent quotes that stood out during his talk.

“This field is in its adolescents.”

“Take a scholarly step back from the assumptions.”

“The written lecture in an online course has incredible advantages that are rarely talked about in EdTech worlds.”

“You don’t get to quality instructional products if you think the very people you are working with are dopes.”

“The second subject of any online learning is the nature of online learning itself.”

“Gain some distance from our habits and assumptions and help students to do the same.”

Pictures

Of course, there were many other highlights and experiences I had at the conference that I could share, but I will let the following pictures speak for themselves.

What about you? What things stood out to you at #ET4online? Do you plan to go to OLC Innovate next year? I would love to see you there!

Born ReadyTechnology Test KitchenRow MSUStephen, Dave and Nate Present on A11yNate talking about camping in the winterDave and EricDave Presenting on REALJess, Laura and DaveIMG_4997.JPGIMG_4998.JPGIMG_4972.JPGIMG_5013.JPGDave and Gardner

Faculty Focus Link on Online Course Development Tips

Bulb License Free for commercial use (Include link to authors website)  Designer Webdesigner Depot - http://www.webdesignerdepot.comOne of my favorite go-to blogs that I enjoy tweeting about from time to time is Faculty Focus. There are consistently strong contributions from a variety of disciplines about pedagogy and research-based best practices that are practical for multiple learning environments. There was a post today from Rob Kelly who references Dionne Thorne on the topic of Nine Online Course Development Tips. Although I would contend with some of the points made for the 8th tip Thorne lists, there were solid recommendations in the concise post that may make it worth a mouse click.