This week, I was honored when one of my CI colleagues, Safa Khan, gave a fabulous little book, “Together is Better: A Little Book of Inspiration” by Simon Sinek. This book is about teams, leadership, goals, and innovation. The following quotes helped me get up and get going today. They helped me go back to work and continue on with the challenge of moving an entire campus to a new Learning Management System LMS. They also helped me see the power in taking risks, and trying new things. I hope you find meaning in these simple words as well.
“If the challenge we face doesn’t scare us, then it’s probably not that important.”
This one really hit home as I reflect on the journey of adopting Canvas, our new LMS. As we evaluated options for replacing Blackboard, I knew we could find something that was a better match for our campus and students, but I was terrified to take the leap. Change is hard everywhere, but change is really hard in higher education. This quote reminded me that this fear was well founded and that the decision was truly important.
“You can’t do it alone. So don’t pretend you can”
This is such an important one for any of us that teach. Teaching is not a solitary sport, reach out connect, and learn from one another. We have seen so much of this happening during the transition to Canvas. Everyday we hear stories of faculty helping each other with Canvas. Stories range from, helping each other publish a course to making courses public so entire programs can get ideas. I look forward to this trend continuing and watching as even more collaboration takes place in the classroom.
“The best way to find out if it will work is to do it”
Don’t get me wrong on this one, we did our homework before moving over to Canvas. On the tails of a very thorough evaluation from the Chancellor’s Office, we ran an extensive pilot, held Brown Bags, wrote reports, and generally tried out every feature of Canvas to make sure it could meet our campus needs. What I really see in this quote is where we are today. As faculty are moving to Canvas, I want to encourage everyone to take a risk and try something new. You wont truly know if it works for you until you try it. Let your students know you trying something new. Then, celebrate if it works, and celebrate if it doesn’t. In the end you will be happier to know that you tried, that you took a risk to improve learning for your students.
“What good is an idea if it remains an idea? Try. Experiment. Iterate. Fail. Try again. Change the world.”