Written by: Leigh Graves Wolf
Primary Source: Leigh Graves Wolf, December 12, 2015.
At the beginning of the semester I started a new position, which, over the past few months has evolved and I have been appointed as the Assistant Director of the MSU Hub for Innovation in Learning and Technology.
The vision of the Hub is to: advance Michigan State University by realizing a more active, engaged, successful, and valuable student experience.
The mission of the Hub is to: facilitate the passion and inventiveness of students, faculty, staff, and stakeholders both inside and outside of MSU to create, identify, and accelerate new ways to collaborate, learn, research, and deliver instruction.
This initiative is embedded into Provost Youatt’s strategic priorities for MSU and is a catalyst and connector for enhancing student success.
As we are starting out our work, I have helped to facilitate a month of design thinking activities to give our team embodied experiences in the process.
We started on November 12 with the Virtual Crash Course in design thinking from Stanford dSchool. We have used this for many years in the MAET Overseas program with great success. Here are some highlights from our experience:
Then, over the past 4 weeks, we released a series of asynchronous “Design Challenges” in our team Slack channel. These challenges were quite intentional – allowing for embodied experiences in design thinking (along with team building and sharing).
The next iteration of our work happened yesterday (December 11) when we engaged in the Hub “design day.” Architects and designers from Smith Group JJR came in to co-facilitate our work. We built the day upon the thinking and work from the asynchronous design challenges. For example, the playlist for the day was made up of the songs shared during week 1 and was playing when people walked into the room. We started out with the Ready, Set, Design activity to set the tone for the day then dove into many iterative cycles. We then worked through case studies (which were based upon the work happening around campus Maker Spaces) While the first job of the Hub is to create the Hub, it was the first time we were all able to collectively work on “real” work that would fall in line with “Hub work.”
The Hub is very intentionally bringing together different stakeholders to conversations (at the same time & same place) around learning and technology. I am most proud of the way students are members our team. They are not “token members on a committee,” they are our colleagues, partners and leaders in driving conversations in and about the Hub (and thus, teaching and learning at MSU.)
We are also very intentionally working transparently and iteratively (this reflective blog post is an example – there is a lot more to unpack in the work we did over the past 4 weeks!) It is in our nature to start a project, determine a path to completion, finish and move on. Shifting our routines (my own included!) to work in a connective, design based manner will take practice. After our experiences yesterday, and over the past month, I know we are starting to equip ourselves with the knowledge and experiences to make this happen.
You can follow (and think and share!) along with us @msuhub and on social media with the hashtag #msuhub.