I’m not sure if you’ve noticed, but there have been quite a few changes around the IDT website. Our office is working very hard to prepare some exciting new content for WSU faculty, staff, and students who teach or take courses online. Originally, we had planned to place this content on the Blackboard LMS and launch the content during Spring Break. In what seemed like no time at all, our plans quickly changed, and we began to adapt our content for WordPress.
I’ll admit, when I first heard about this change, I went into a minor panic attack. My whole life, I have been a complete control freak. My mom loves to tell the story of how, as a young kid, I would demand that she play “puppet show” with me. “Puppet show” basically meant that I would put on a puppet show with my toys while my mom had one doll that she was allowed to move only when I said so. If my mom tried to break out of the script I had written in my head, I would snap at her and inform her that that is NOT how “puppet show” show is played. I was (am?) a monster.
The transfer of content from Blackboard to WordPress felt like my mom taking over my “puppet show.” I was no longer able to play by my precise and prescribed rules. As I felt control of the project slip through my fingers, anxiety was slowly replaced with a weird sense of calm. Although I wasn’t happy about it, I knew that the change was for the good of all users and for our team as a whole. John tried to console me a bit after the WordPress announcement was made. I expressed to him my new sense of calm to which he replied, “that’s why everyone in this office is a Buddhist.”
This experience has been similar to many other experiences I have had as an instructional designer and online instructor. While I can hope to approach certain tasks and projects with an overwhelming amount of control, more often than not, I find myself relatively powerless. Now, I don’t mean to make this sound negative. More than anything, teaching online has taught me a new sense of adaptability. When an assignment isn’t executed correctly or when a multiple choice test isn’t graded properly, it isn’t the end of the world. All I have to do is shake off my discomfort and continue on. Rather than feel out of control, I remind myself that of the opportunity to problem solve. I’m slowly learning that mistakes or changes to the plan offer opportunities for growth. I’m starting to learn how to let go.
After the decision was made to transfer content to an outward facing platform, our whole team sat down to divvy up tasks and create a plan together. After a long two hours, we created a plan and got to work.
Now the pieces are starting to fall into place. I feel great about this project and I’m excited to share our new content with you soon. I’m also excited to look ahead and see all of the additional work that can be done for future roll-outs. Check back in the week of March 21st and explore the new IDT page.