...but what if it does

I think many of us have found ourselves on the receiving end of the dreaded “well that’s the way we’ve always done it” when talking to a supervisor, colleague, or someone in an upper administrative position. Unless your are the CEO or President of your organization (if so Hi! How are you?) , it is most likely that you have been in this situation.

Some of the times, what follows that dreaded statement after pleading to your supervisor your great idea, is the statement/question “but what if it doesn’t work”. Shot down twice, ouch!

…. but what if it does?

This is definitely not Long’s Peak… it is a measly 10K feet above sea level on the hike up to Dream Lake

This is definitely not Long’s Peak… it is a measly 10K feet above sea level on the hike up to Dream Lake

Now if you’re like me, you’re impatient and want what you know will work to be implemented now. Unfortunately, not everyone is open to our impatience and we need to pump the brakes.. Knowing that an idea would work in an organization that is resistant to change is like trying to climb Long’s Peak on your first trip to Rocky Mountain National Park as a novice hiker. You need to be patient, learn, and then take that climb.

You know in your gut that you can do it, but here is a list of some of the things that I have tried to make my organization go from”but what if it doesn’t work”, “to what if it does”. (caveat: I have been with my organization for 5 years and I still encounter some resistance, but I’m not going to stop trying)

  1. Know your stuff. This should be easy, after all this is your bread and butter.. this is your area to which you have spent countless hours reading and writing and bench marking.

  2. Show, don’t tell. Telling people is the worst - instead… SHOW them. I think this is one of the best methods to help your dept/organization to adopt something new. We wanted to implement a new piece of software to help our residence life staff, so what did I/we the committee do? We showed our department what this software could actually do. And while you’re showing them, don’t forget to explain the WHY.

  3. Use Data-Informed decision-making skills (I swear this is a new buzz phrase) If you had the time to do some bench-marking across similar organizations, do a needs assessment, evaluate programs that may not work - showing quantifiable data will help you to assuage the resistance to a new idea.

  4. Build your army of allies. Working and sharing your idea with your like-minded colleagues is a great way for them to have your back on an idea, particularly if you are in meetings with them where decisions are made.

  5. If your idea is just too much for your organization to handle - channel that energy into some place else. What do I mean by this? In my experience, some other avenue for your idea may help you flush your ideas out more. For example, I know there are many gaps where my knowledge and talent can be filled, so I took that drive and went back to school to get a certificate in Instructional Systems Technology. I am learning so much and that will help me bring my ideas and knowledge to a new level. Hence this website/blog :)

All in all, you got this. This is your great idea/new procedure/area where you will shine and do not ever forget that. Remember, you may not win the battle in your first, second or even fifth try, but resilience and passion will win out in the end. And maybe one day you too will land at the top of Long’s Peak.

Mod(u)le the Way

One of my favorite things about designing trainings within a learning management system is the ability to break the learning process down in modular form. In my previous post, I wrote about instructional design, but now, I am going to show you a little bit of what I put together.

This is the first module that student will see. This module explains the why and some of the features of Roompact and the learning outcomes of this training.

Start with the WHY and Begin with the End in Mind

As a professional working in student affairs, these two prompts are what I am consistently trying to do with everything item I work with. Similarly, in the Instructional Design world, the are the most helpful paths when working on a project: why am I doing this and what do I want the end result to be. In my project of creating a training tool for student staff members, the why (to fill a training need for student staff) and the end (to have them be able to successful navigate this new software) were the two things I kept in my mind as I tried to figure out the best way to fulfill both needs.

Building the module

In Canvas, IU’s learning management system, I thought about what would be the most engaging elements for this group of students. Sure, I could have done a powerpoint in a lecture setting, but that’s the way they’ve always done it here, and we all know I just simply couldn’t do that. So, I decided to create engagement tools to scaffold as student go through the training module. In my modules, there are typically several elements: a video, a do it yourself in test mode, and a short reflection or activity that they need to upload. I also programmed the module so that students MUST complete module 1 before moving onto the next.


Accountability is my favorite word in student affairs land and luckily, Canvas already comes with that piece. When a supervisor (this case, a Residence Life Coordinator) logs on to this Canvas site, they will be able to ”grade” modules and offer feedback to the student staff member who submitted their assignments. They can also see who has accessed the assignment and who did not.


  1. Write out your modules in story-board form. This really helps to capture the whole “begin with the end in mind” concept. For this module, I wrote out an outline/storyboard and it helped me to visualize my outcomes.

  2. Make the activities in this module as engaging as possible and try to be creative. I needed to create several videos using Adobe Spark and Kaltura (both courtesy of IU) because I needed to walk student through how to complete a task. In one of the modules, I requested that students practice facilitating a roommate contract in trios and then uploading that video as an assignment.

Have you created a module for training? Share some awesome ideas that you’ve done to make your trainings more engaging!

What the h*ck is Instructional Design

What the h*ck is Instructional Design

Simply put, Instructional Design (ID) is a systematic way of creating an instructional tool (trainings) to make learning more efficient and ensure the highest quality of learning. Not a tall order at all.

Instructional designers are the professionals who are responsible for creating these tools. Working with a business or a division, they can create training to fill in performance gaps or to rethink the way training was done within an organization.

Why should I care about Instructional Design

Take a moment to think about a training that you had to map out and execute. What process did you take to get there? How did you know what you were placing in the training actually works? How did you know it was engaging? Many of us in student affairs are responsible for mapping out trainings for our students and staff members. However, how exactly do we know how to create an efficient training and ensure the highest quality of learning?

Let’s face it, most of us learned how to execute a training process by using the same template as the year before, which may or may not have been the best. An Instructional Design approach can help bolster your trainings by being intentional about how to engage the specific audience.

Example: Creating a module for teaching Roompact

If you head on over to the “About Me” tab and hit the “Projects” link on this page, you will see an exploratory map of a training I put together to introduce new software to our Student Staff members. This map is built into Indiana University’s Learning Management System (LMS), Canvas. Each point on the map is a different module, which scaffolds exercises within each module. This way, a student will garner foundational information that will help guide them as they move through out the module. By the end, the student should have a clear understanding of how to use the software. There is an assessment piece in the last module (the treasure chest) so that I can know what worked and what did not work. This is an example of how instructional design can be beneficial and engaging to teach our students in an engaging manner.

ID can be a very useful tool when working with trainings. I am beginning my journey to figure out how to fill in performance gaps in some of the trainings that we do in order to best meet the goals of my department and to ensure an engaging training for students.


It feels good to be back.

After a short 2 year hiatus from writing, I am getting back into the grind.

I’ve been quiet for too long, but with good reason. I took time to focus on me and to get to a place where I finally understand who I am (for the most part) and to have a grasp on what I am doing and where I am going; what causes me hurt and what brings me joy. You can say I grew, but I think most of all, I’ve become more of who I am meant to be.

Professionally, while my title remains the same, I’ve branched out to learn about numerous things that have nothing to do with residence life, but to then actually apply them in a residential life context. Something that I’ve discovered is a field called Instructional Systems Technology and I am currently enrolled in a Master’s certificate through the School of Education at Indiana University. I am still learning, but as I dive deep into the coursework, I am discovering new ways to apply what I am learning to revolutionize how we develop training curriculums for students and staff, how we can better evaluate staff members using Human Performance Technology, and how we can be more engaging with our students through technology.

I hope you enjoy what I bring to the table. It’s good to be back.