Day 3 did not let up at all – Digital Redlines – #DigPed 2017

Going into it I thought day 3 may let up a little bit. After the breadth of conversations and activities of the first two days I needed some chill time. Sean encouraged us to take this time in his opening remarks, but I’m pretty stubborn. Although it is a long week, it is but a week, and I want to squeeze every possible thing out of this. I want to do everything longer – to listen, to think, to share, to build, to watch, to hug, to write. I have waited so long to be here at UMW during a DPLI that I just want all the things! ALL THE THINGS!

It may be overwhelming (and I become overwhelmed very quickly), but I feel that I need to take as much in as I can and document as much as I can in my idiosyncratic way. However, during our pair coding sessions (we’re mostly just working our way through this free online text) my coding partner Theresa and I mostly just slowly really try to understand what we are doing over plowing through it. 

Meeting so many smart and critical people for the first time inspires me. Seeing people I’ve only met virtually in the flesh for the first time inspires me. Listening to people talk about the challenges we all face in so many complex systems inspires me. My goal in sharing my experience here is to reach out to others and find a way to work together to help. My goal is to find ways that I can help and to meet others who can look at me and say: “Hey that Daniel may be able to help us/me/him/her/them with …”

Over the past 3 days I sure have listened a lot and it has been wonderful. Sitting in a room this morning listening to Chris Gilliard outline the many interweaving narratives that are digital redlining was amazing. Beginning in the 1920s and 1930s in his native Detroit, banks decided which neighbourhoods were worthy of investment and which were not. They drew lines based and the neighbourhoods within the red lines were those least worthy of development. There was absolutely no coincidence that those neighbourhoods were people of colour. This approach was not limited to Detroit of course – the whole country had its redlined districts. In many places you can still see this clear distinction – on a street divided by one of these lines the disparity is obvious. One side may have a million dollar house while the other side has abandoned townhouses.

As Chris described the physical spaces where zoning lines are clear because of the conditions of roads and buildings directly across the street from one another, my mind moved again to how physical and virtual worlds are intimately intertwined. How spaces on the internet look so different depending on why/how/when you enter them. If you can even enter them at all. We talked about firewalls limiting access and how prestigious schools have more open access than not. We talked about how many people making decisions about access don’t even understand how the internet works. And Chris asked this question, which I think opens up so many interesting conversations:

What is legal that you shouldn’t have access to on campus?

We talked about all the things. After all of these challenging and rewarding ideas, we all smiled as I grabbed my selfie stick and we took our first #DataLit group selfie:

(I’m leaving out a whole bunch of awesome that Bill Fitzgerald brought in the afternoon. His work and approach to data is just wonderful. And he is by turns hilarious and touching.)

Borrowing notes & memos – Day 2 from #DigPed 2017 #FXBG

Things heated up today. Before I could jump into the keynote, I had to call into the New Faculty Orientation session happening at Davidson College. There’s an interesting group of new faculty and our Instructional Design team had a chance to talk about our work and aspirations. We have a pretty cool team: Kyo Koo, Brian Little, Robert McSwain, and Sundi Richard. As different faculty spoke, my mind moved into different ways that the things I am learning in the DataLit track are so DIRECTLY applicable to what will come in the next weeks, months, and years. A “screengrab” from said session:

In many conferences I have been known to take many group selfies, but I didn’t take any day one. Day two brought us my first “wefie” of the conference:


Sadly I missed almost all of Adeline Koh’s keynote. Will watch and reflect later, but as the day went on several peeps were beaming from it, so I can only assume it was all the awesomez.


After the keynotes we had a discussion of … all the keynotes. Now, I still haven’t even touched on how crazy smart, reflective, and varied are those in my cohort. They are those things. And we are also studying many of the scary things that are about sharing your data on teh internetz. For me at least, these twists and roundabouts are equally exhilarating and exasperating. As a species we have built up such complex systems to engage and gauge and share our selves, yet our bias(es) permeate everything we do. During one of our exercises I thought for a long period (and therefore probably zoned on a bunch of other stuff) on the etymology of the word “data”. Don’t want to “Dansplain”* this here, but data comes from the Latin “datum” – something given. So the origins of this term do not align with the contemporary idea of data, or at least not with 100% transparently. What is “something given” if you do not know to whom the thing is being given? And yes, in an age with so many security settings and ways of finding data, are we not more blindly surrendering our data at points?

So. Our #DataLit track talked about the keynotes. So heavy. I came in late, as I wanted to publish my first day’s reflection on DigPed before way further eschewing my views. During that session I listened – I don’t think I said a single word. And I did not fall asleep. For those of you who really know me you must know this was a true feat. But I did it and it was f**king awesome. So many smart ideas from cool peeps. Part of the coolest part of the day is I got to “steal” all of the great notes that Adrienne Lapierre is taking during our track. Looking over here notes helped me remember some things I’d already forgotten AND see some things from a different perspective. Her data collection lens is quite different from my own – meaning she actually has one :P

Really looking forward to the workshops on day 3 and the Virtually connecting sessions as well. Its going to be a long full week for sure.

Hellos, Intros, & Memos from #DigPed 2017


I’m finally here. For years I have been part of Digital Pedagogy Lab Institute (DPLI) community – perhaps not a major contributor to the larger body of work, but an enthusiastic collaborator and instigator at turns. Two years ago I yearned to be at the first DPLI in Madison – I watched from afar as so very many of the people whose work I found challenging and lovely at the same time shared the same physical space. Last year I was extremely lucky to be part of DigPedPei and even delivered a workshop on dataviz. But this year I am in the heart of it. The University of Mary Washington  – the birthplace of #DoOO and the current working space of so many totally awesome people. When I met Jim Groom for the first time In The Flesh (ITF) he espoused on his history at UMW (a lot of which I had mostly lurked on from teh internetz) and many of the cool projects and people he had (and does) work with. It was all so very far off though. A land I never thought I would one day visit. But here I am now.
Today began with hugs and hellos to bodies I have and/or have not touched somehow before. We should have a rule right? If you share a bunch of laughs and love and thoughts on teh internetz and then you meet someone for the first time → hug! You don’t have to hug forever and deeply, but even a shoulder to shoulder tap. Unless people really know you’re not a hugger, or it is not appropriate for you to hug for whatever reasons, in which case you get a warm and greeting pair of hands. Such a great feeling to forego the normal handshake. My day started like this – with hugs and an awesome pair of welcoming hands.

And then it began – with a kind and welcoming message from @slamteacher that spawned these tweets:


Sean Michael Morris’ work has consistently been a beacon for me as an instructional designer and even more just as a human. His work has constantly been a voice for the empathy we SHOULD all have. His voice is aspirational and his sentiments and praxis inspirational. After Sean’s introduction, we moved onto an ice breaker activity led by Jesse Stommel. It was so much fun. Our task: get into pairs and, using a bunch of lego pieces on our tables, construct the avatar of your partner. Here are some of the results:

After going through the exercises and thinking some, there are several pedagogical implementations with this create your own avatar exercise. You could use it as an icebreaker exercise at the beginning of a class to get students to engage in a variety of narrative discourses. For me, my avatar was a reflection of myself in a variety of ways and right after this, someone suggested how interesting it would be to use the avatars as a way of trading and swapping pieces with others. So many possibilities.

After this we went into our tracks and I am soooo happy to be in the Data Literacies track. We started out with an ice breaker exercise which was hosted on GitHub. It was the basic “find someone who” exercise, but with the twist at the end of the exercise we reported back on others. This was an interesting way of introducing each other instead of introducing yourself. It also got to the core of what the data literacies track is about: how data can be reported, built on, manipulated, and shared. Kris Shaffer is openly sharing all of our schedule so have a look and do all the stuff you want to.

My last takeaway from the track is we were asked to read an article by Danah Boyd. As Kris had sent out the schedule in advance, I thought I would be a good student and read in advance. Opening the article in Chrome, I had open and I started going through the article. At one point I noticed this great quote was annotated so I opened up the annotations. What I saw was kind of embarrassing and cool at the same time – I had made a couple notes on the article back in January. So, it is either that my research is so deep that I can’t remember all the things I read, or I am old and my memory sucks. Or something else. It is interesting that this data sat there and then I re-encountered my own data in the data track.

Not sure how the rest of the week will go, but I do know that I am here, with some of my people, in so very many excited ways.


Intentional Practice OR My first 33 days of Instructional Design at Davidson College OR #336699

It is business day 33 at my new job as “Instructional Designer – Quantitative Applications” as part of the Davidson College WildCat tech team. These first weeks have been full of fun events across campus and I feel quite lucky to be warmly welcomed by people here in the Technology and Innovation team, as well as a bunch of faculty, staff, librarians, students, and alumni at various events across campus. It may seem weird to have the exact day count at 33, but ever since I started as an Instructional Designer at UPEI several years ago, I have slotted out my time in 30/60 and 100 day chunks. I thank Dave Cormier for this, as he tasked me at the beginning of my time at UPEI to set goals for each of those marks, and then reset once you get to 100 and do it all again. Having clear markers of some sort is very important. Especially when you’re working in such an odd field as Instructional Design. Whenever someone asks me what I do and I say I’m an ID, it is usually met with confusion and a lot of explaining. But I will talk about this elsewhere.

As day 30 approached, I decided to break my time into 33/66/99 chunks instead of 30/60/100. I won’t break down the logic for this, but it has made me really pay attention to each day and where it falls inside the intervals. Mostly this also helps me to get a feel for what I have done, what I’m looking to do, and what is a bit further off down the line. My main goal when working with people is to amplify their work in the open. When I first meet people I use a variety of frameworks to begin our work together. Using these frameworks, I try to get as much of the work into the open and in my first 33 days here I have found many opportunities to do this. Although A LOT has happened in my first 33 days, I am going to briefly outline 6 projects/classe I’m involved in that have at least parts in the open and how I am excited for their trajectories. Each project will be broken down into: BACKGROUND, NEXT STEPS, and HOW MANY DAYS UNTIL NEXT PROJECT.

Religion 238 – Islamic Cities


Religion 238 is a class taught bi-annually by Rizwan Zamir. He has taught the class several times and decided over a year ago that he wanted to use a larger visual component to the course. To (very roughly) paraphrase Rizwan:

Using only text to get to the intricacies of how a city can be a spatial reflection of the empire and religion it is a part of has its limitations. By using some type of mapping assignment, we are able to better represent the actual experiences of people in the city and in the empire.

From my side, I came into the class on my Day 4 (!) which was VERY near the end of the semester. By that point, students had already divided into groups, chosen the cities they were going to map, and done most of their research. There were only 3 weeks left in the semester with students working in different environments as they prepared for final presentations. It was fun to get to work with each group on how to build out their presentations and to learn a bunch of stuff about Mecca, Istanbul, and Jerusalem.


This course won’t be offered again until 2018-2019 so we have a bunch of time to prepare and rethink some approaches. Brian Little and I will be the Instructional Designers working on this project – we’re both pretty pumped to say the least. Also of great interest is that Rizwan is going to start an OER text/site/something based on his Islamic Mysticism in Spring 2017! (Will defo report on this later!)


99ish for the OER part. 399ish for the next REL238 section.




In my second week here, I was invited to meet with Rose Stremlau about a digital mapping project she wanted her students to do for her HIS 306 class. Over the semester her students transcribed letters from the Davidson Archives written by Mary Lacy from 1855 – 1860. Rose wanted to get some ideas for interesting projects where students could reflect on the letters in a variety of ways. We decided on three separate outputs: word clouds, topographical maps, and blog posts with scans of the letters. Not all of these were shared in the open by students, but the blog itself is a worthy and interesting read. Many of the details make good yarn. And the student reflections are top notch.


Rose is just great fun to work with and we have a few things on both front and back burners. What seems interesting about the HIS 306 class is that the focus will be a bit different each time, so every time it is offered students will make some cool stuff and (hopefully!) share in the open on teh internetz!


99ish days until Rose’s Fall 2017 courses – I am sure we’ll do something then. Meanwhile, over the summer Rose has alluded to a couple of UBER interesting projects. Stay tuned and I’ll share as it comes up.




There is a reimagining of how the Humanities are being taught/taken at Davidson. At the end of my second week here, I was invited to take part in a workshop with this as part of the email:

Design session, definitions, short-term and long-term goals, planning, brainstorming, course building, thinking about recruiting, connecting to campus programming, and more. Thinking about our theme for the next three years: REVOLUTION

Those who know me know I LOVE this kind of workshop. I haz all the ideaz! They’re not all GREAT ideas. Some are quite the opposite, but I haz them all. Needless to say it was a VERY FUN exercise. We (meaning @sundilu and I) were brought in primarily to figure out what type of digital mapping/timelining/whatever-ing would happen during the course. We’re still not 100% on what that will look like, but what we did get those 2 days was intros to a bunch of great people.

Of particular fun-ness for me was intros to most of the fellows. There are 10 student fellows who are going to help out during the fall and spring sections. One of my main side projects over the last month has been herding them up individually to make short “promo” videos that are both on the Humanities site and the HUMDavidson youtube channel.


We’re working with a few peeps on campus to make sure that #HumDavidson gets a good look by incoming freshman. Of course, we’ll also be working with the team of faculty teaching the course and the fellows on varied critical instructional design approaches.


We’ll be visiting this regularly over the summer, but 99ish is when the course kicks off! Of course, I’ll report back before and after then on how its going.


Whats this all mean?

Somehow I lost the thread of what my intention was with this post at the very beginning. It was intended to talk about how I am going to be intentional in my practice here and as a response to this post. So here it goes – every 33 business days I plan on updating and adding to a conversation about projects new and old whilst using #336699 and #instructionaldesign. Although this series is not meant to detail/outline/share ALL THE THINGS, it will give a glimpse into some efforts made to be more open and a window into some design processes.

images/lenses that may make my work clearer

most of my time at work i spend standing up in front of screens

some of my work is in classrooms

and little bits here and there are in meeting rooms across campus

when im working in any of the above ways, i visualize what is being talked about in my head and try to shape/re-shape the things being talked about

these following images are the most common ones that swirl in my head as i work(they are all stolen and/or adapted from other sources as noted):











this one is what i aspire to do most of the time – find connections between peoples’ narratives/data/”images” and try to leave the space with some sort of take away – try to hit that center asterix even if in a “small way”














this is a relatively “new to me” grid that i think helps figure where/when what images/approaches can be used and what questions should be asked – it helps as a starting point and is pseudo easy to explain













this is the CYNEFIN FRAMEWORK – i learned about it several years ago and have used it frequently when working with, well, pretty much everyone. its a great way to structure talks and approaches around ideas. it can take some complex relationships and make them easier to talk about.




















these last two images are visitor and resident maps (#vandr). all you kind of need to know about this is HERE. i have used this exercise in countless classes, workshops, and consults. it is a great way to get people to feel on the same page and to help unpack some of the “digital dualist” notions that circulate. the colour image above is a map i did a long time ago, while the black and white one i did this week as part of the #DdigPINS class.

although these aren’t all of the approaches i use, they do capture some strong pieces that i have found of value when dealing with the variety of peeps in several types of #highered milieu.