Campfire Stories: Approaches for (Design Thinking) Impactful Change

Concurrent Session 8
MERLOT

Session Materials

Brief Abstract

Affected by challenges at your institution?  Join us, for a discussion about real-world problems solved collaboratively with synchronous discussions and asynchronous work using online and open source technology tools.

Presenters

Jane Moore is the Director of MERLOT Editorial and Professional Development Services. She also serves as Editor for MERLOT's Teacher Education Board. Jane has taught online since 2002, and after 27 years in the elementary classroom and 16 years in higher education full time, has embraced online learning with a great deal of enthusiasm.
Angela Gunder serves as Director of Instructional Design and Curriculum Development for the Office of Digital Learning at The University of Arizona. Angela came into instructional design rather circuitously, helming large-scale site designs as webmaster for The City College of New York, the honors college at ASU, and Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA).  Her over fifteen year career as a designer for higher education informs her instructional design practice, where she leverages her expertise in usability, visual communication, programming, and standards-based online learning. Angela holds a B.S. in Computer Science and Fine Art from Fordham University, and a M.Ed. in Education Technology from Arizona State University.  Prior to her position at UA, she was a member of NOVA’s instructional design team, supporting over 23,000 students in 550 unique courses.   Angela is an Associate Editor for the Teacher Education Board of MERLOT, and a Quality Matters certified peer reviewer and online facilitator.  Her research interests include technology for second language acquisition, open educational resources, and emerging technology to promote digital literacy. A voracious culinary nerd, Angela spends her free time composing, cooking and photographing original recipes for her food blog.
Mad scientist specializing in faculty support, student focus, digital spaces and human experience As the interim Senior Manager of Instructional Technology and Development for MSU Information Technology I lead a talented team of staff and postdoctoral scholars to support faculty and academic staff in creating quality, caring, and exemplary digital experiences at Michigan State University. We're builders, tinkerers, researchers, collaborators, fixers, and figurers. Mister Rogers told us to look for the helpers. We took that to heart, and work to be the helpers partnering with you to leverage academic technologies to build the best digital learning experiences for MSU students. I have worked in information technology since 1998, spanning the private and academic sectors. I live in Lansing with my pretty amazing partner Ryan and has spent more perfectly good hours playing video games than I am comfortable admitting in polite company. All that aside, I love thinking, reading, volunteering, rolling around on things with wheels, gardening, tinkering, and learning new things.
Dr. Cris Guenter, Professor of Education at California State University, Chico She specializes in teaching that focuses on arts education, computer graphics, and technology in education. Her research interests include technology's intersection with the arts, authentic assessment, and online instruction. She teaches credential and graduate level courses in the arts, technology, and curriculum development. In 2008 she was recognized as the National Art Educator of the Year. Cris has experience in giving engaging keynote presentations for K-university educators at the state and national levels. She has been involved with MERLOT since its inception in 1999.

Additional Authors

Dr. Cris Guenter, Professor of Education at California State University, Chico She specializes in teaching that focuses on arts education, computer graphics, and technology in education. Her research interests include technology's intersection with the arts, authentic assessment, and online instruction. She teaches credential and graduate level courses in the arts, technology, and curriculum development. In 2008 she was recognized as the National Art Educator of the Year. Cris has experience in giving engaging keynote presentations for K-university educators at the state and national levels. She has been involved with MERLOT since its inception in 1999.

Extended Abstract

Popularized by Rittel and Webber (1973), the concept of the “wicked problem” encompasses challenges that require iterative and often collaborative work to tackle and solve.  As we work to address the needs of our online students within the rapidly changing landscape of higher education, many of the obstacles that we face include elements of the unknown that are illuminated through the sharing of practice.  The sharing of trials, lessons learned and effective practices through storytelling can serve as an impactful tool for connecting smaller pieces to the larger puzzle of a wicked problem.  Inspired by Studs Terkel’s (1974)  declaration of our hunger for stories as humans, this session seeks to weave together the power of storytelling, design thinking, and active collaboration to chip away at three key challenges - aligning technology to pedagogy, universal design, and equity in access.

The presenters, all editors for the Teacher Education board of MERLOT, will lead this session as a lively and interactive conversation, similar to their bi-weekly editorial board meetings.  In these meetings, real-world problems are solved collaboratively with synchronous discussions in Zoom and asynchronous work over a wide-variety of online, open source technology tools.  The session will consist of a brief introduction of how the presenters have been affected by each of the following challenges at their institutions, followed by an engaged discussion and report from each group:

  • How can we help bridge the gap between emerging technology and the need to root all innovation in pedagogy?

  • How can we use empathy to drive our decision making process, particularly in our commitment to support learners with a wide variety of needs and skills?

  • How can we make sure that all of our learners benefit from our interventions and innovations?

The discussion prompts are inspired by Chen’s (2010) call to consider the overall landscape of learning and also align with some of the presenters’ favorite activities within the design thinking framework. The session will include ample time to share the new approaches and ideas that were generated by the participants in their small group discussions. In conclusion, each of the three questions and subsequent discussions will be paired with a unique resource, effective practice, and takeaway that will leave participants with a tangible approach to tackling similar wicked challenges at their home institutions.  

Modelling their work curating and sharing emerging technology tools for MERLOT, the presenters will also include some of their current favorite technology - Adobe Spark, Vizia, and last year’s MERLOT Classics Award Winner, Accessible Syllabus.

Chen, M. (2010). Education nation: Six leading edges of innovation in schools. Learning International  Networks Consortium (LINC) MIT, Cambridge, MA: Jossey-Bass.

Rittel and Webber. (1973). Dilemmas in a general theory of planning. Policy Sciences 4(2), pp. 155-169.

Terkel, S. (1974). Working: People talk about what they do all day and how they feel about what they do.  NY: Pantheon/Random House.