The rangerdavie blog has retired…

Well folks, it has been a great ten years or so here at!

I’ve decided to take my writing endeavors to rebuild a new social presence over at

Hope to see you there!

You stay classy, my dear readers.



LCC’s 2nd OER Summit

On Friday, I was fortunate to have been able to attend the 2nd annual Lansing Community College Open Educational Resources Summit. I attended last year when David Wiley was the keynote and it was outstanding. This year’s keynote was Dr. Cable Green who is the Director of Open Education at Creative Commons. It was an amazing day of learning, sharing and making connections with others in the field I hadn’t known before.

For instance, as seen in this panel image which was the culminating event at the Summit, I learned about Joseph Mold who is the Director of Online Learning & Instructional Design at Bay College in our beautiful Michigan Upper Peninsula. The work they have been doing on behalf of student success and faculty autonomy with OER is one of the most compelling examples I have learned of to date. You can see a glimpse into some of their efforts and accomplishments in the two short videos below:

I nearly missed this year because it somehow was not on my radar. Fortunately, Regina Gong (Chair of this great Summit) mentioned this year’s summit over the weekend on Twitter. I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to pull it off because of some previously scheduled meetings I had on my calendar, but thanks to my kind colleagues who covered for me, I was able to attend.

You can follow the active twitter stream that ensued here at #LCCOER or at #GoOpen. Don’t miss Eric Kunnen’s infamous note taking skills on his WordPress site too. It’s probably the next best thing to actually being there.

Looking forward to next year already! Thank you, Regina and all the great folks who helped put this together! 

Winners Announced! Aquent Design for Good Grant Opportunity


Last month, I submitted a video application for a $5,000 grant opportunity to fund the nonprofit organization of my choice around a design challenge. I did so on behalf of Energizing Education in Jackson, Michigan. Although my video was not a finalist in the chosen recipients, it was still a really good experience to take part in and I am so impressed with all the great submissions that came in from around the world for this opportunity.

If anything, check out the 5 Recipients and join me in celebrating this great accomplishment! Also, a huge shout out to Aquent and to Vitamin Talent for making this grant opportunity possible. Thank you, so much!

Monica Bloom is the Creative Director of “Vitamin T” and invited us to join her in a virtual celebration to congratulate the 5 Recipients of the Aquent Design For Good grants:

*clap clap clap* *horn blast!*

Here they are!

  1. Give a Beat
  1. North Carolina Coalition Against Domestic Violence
  1. Khushi Baby
  1. American Story Project
  1. Understanding Our Differences

See the entire collection of all the submissions on Aquent’s gallery page. Grab your handkerchiefs. You will be glad you did.

Great work, everyone! I’m way impressed. I love watching people getting their hands dirty while changing the world.

Teacher trust


TurtleI would do so many things differently than I did those first years of teaching.

I made so many grave mistakes.

I have a vivid memory of a 10th grade Biology lesson I was giving one day in the late Spring when my students were fidgety and seemingly unable to focus on what I’m sure was an incredibly engaging lesson (insert sarcasm font here). It got to the point where I had to stop the lesson and go off script which wasn’t my forte, especially when opening up a difficult conversation with a class of 35 students in the room.

I remember being genuinely nervous, but realizing how important it was for me to express my concern about how the class was going as I felt like I wasn’t getting through to any of them that day. I don’t remember exactly what I said, but I expressed my concern in a very honest and frank way. I opened it up to the room on the spot to provide some ideas on how we could make it through the rest of the year without me blowing a gasket. I also admitted that I needed to figure out a way to know I was doing my job as a teacher better.

I think this vulnerability I stepped into in a way that was clearly not planned is what really grabbed their attention to the point where it was eerily silent in the room at first. I remember practicing to wait and embrace that awkward silence to let trust develop and courage for people to speak up honestly with it me not passing judgement or taking offense to the fact that my teaching approach was clearly not working. Ideas started flowing from the room on how we could address the challenge together.

Of course, things never got perfect after that, but I do recall an enormous shift that took place even toward the end of the year where me and my students had a better understanding of each other. That moment catalyzed deeper trust for everyone in the room to speak up or connect with me personally when things just weren’t working for them.

I will never forget that the courage of honesty in moments like those (rather than losing my cool) was constructive for building the essential trust there must be between a teacher and their students.

Now to the daily challenge of putting this courage to practice moment-by-moment.

Nomadic Designer Syndrome

Hello, my name is Dave and I have Nomadic Designer Syndrome.

I don’t know what that means because I just made it up.


Hub Space being built in Wells Hall.

Today, I have been boxing up my stuff. A few of us on the Learning Design team are running an experiment. We are clearing out our individual work spaces and opening them up for anyone to use. In turn, much of our time will be spent over in the new space renovated for the Hub.

This new Hub space is in the D-Wing of Wells Hall on Michigan State’s campus directly east of the football stadium. Over the summer, the space has been gutted and transformed into an open office work environment. A substantial portion of the area is also designated for networking and collaboration with the intent of cultivating innovation.

img_6022This isn’t the first time I’ve made a transition to an open office environment. In one assignment, I shared an office with 9 other people. There were no cubicles. We all worked facing each other using standing desks. It was not easy at first for me to adjust. I was under an illusion that I would be more creative and productive in isolation, but the opposite ended up being true. In fact, having my colleagues all around me to bounce ideas off of all day was invigorating even for someone like me who is more naturally inclined to introversion. Sure, there were challenges we experienced, but we were able to build a culture around a code of conduct that worked for us as a team.

One thing is for sure.

Innovation is messy.

img_6023That’s why I’m most excited about the Hub’s approach inviting collaborators all around campus to co-work and innovate with us.

We open for business on Monday, October 10th. Please note that there will be lots of movement and noise, as we will still be moving in.. Who am I kidding? It is intended to be a loud and energetic space from day one. Please come on by and say hello. Better yet, consider setting up shop at one of our open workstations to connect, create opportunities and innovate with us.

We also have an open house on October 27th from 9am to 6pm. All are welcome to join.

Those of us involved in the Hub look forward to continued collaborations with you in learning and scholarship at Michigan State University.

IDEO HCD Process


Description of framework

screen-shot-2016-09-26-at-10-14-30-amThe folks at IDEO have made a reputation of being an award-winning global design firm that coined the “human-centered” approach to design thinking. They use this strategy effectively to help a diverse portfolio of organizations to both innovate and grow. IDEO’s president and CEO Tim Brown describes design thinking itself as:

“… a human-centered approach to innovation that draws from the designer’s toolkit to integrate the needs of people, the possibilities of technology, and the requirements for business success.”

So, what does this look like?

For one thing, it isn’t necessarily linear. In fact, IDEO recognizes that each project and client they work with invariably has its own context and character. At the same time, they do identify three primary phases that each design thinking project experiences. Conveniently, each phase begins with the letter “I”:

  • Inspiration
  • Ideation
  • Implementation

These three phases create space for the designer to do three primary things:

  1. Inspiration: Build and nourish deep empathy for individuals and communities they are designing for.
  2. Ideation: Inform the design of new solutions around improved understood of the problems they face.
  3. Implementation: Creating space to test ideas and prototypes of these solutions before implementing them.  

IDEO goes on to explain that the way organizations can transform the way they develop products, services, processes and strategy by thinking creatively like a designer. They propose that it is possible for professionals to use the creative tools of designers and approaches they use to solve a vast array of challenges even if they have never had formal training as a designer. This is because they describe design thinking itself as a deeply human process that draws on tacit knowledge we all intuitively have which can be overshadowed by more conventional problem-solving practices.

The IDEO website describes design thinking as a method that “relies on our ability to be intuitive, to recognize patterns, to construct ideas that are emotionally meaningful as well as functional, and to express ourselves through means beyond words or symbols.”

They caution that over-reliance on methods that are strictly analytical or rational can be just as risky as running an organization on feeling or intuitions alone. As IDEO walks with clients into new visions of what their operations could look like in the future, they use a holistic mix of both analytical tools and generative techniques. They do this using design thinking as an integrated “third way” that isn’t pigeonholed into just one way of thinking.

This results in activities that integrate business model prototyping, data visualization, innovation strategy, organizational design, qualitative and quantitative research, and IP liberation. Each of these methods is done with conscious consideration of both the capabilities of the clients and the needs of their customers. Before a final solution is designed, there are multiple iterations that are relying on feedback loops and assessments that inform each rapid modification. The goal is to deliver appropriate, actionable and tangible strategies that result in new and innovative options for growth each of which are grounded in business viability and market demands.

According to their website, IDEO’s approaches have helped them achieve some of the following milestones as an organization:

  • Ranked as one of the most innovative companies in the world by business leaders in a global survey by Boston Consulting Group
  • Ranked #10 on Fast Company’s list of the Top 25 Most Innovative Companies
  • Winner of 38 Red Dot awards, 28 iF Hannover awards, and more IDEA awards than any other design firm
  • Ranked #16 on Fortune’s list of 100 most-favored employers by MBA students
  • Awarded the Smithsonian Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum’s National Design Award for Product Design


You can read more at:

How My Failure as a Teacher Began to Teach Me Lifelong Lessons.

photo-1453847668862-487637052f8aDropped out

I was a 2nd year teacher drop-out. I felt like a failure as a person and as a professional. Most of all, I felt like I had failed my high school science, biology and chemistry students.

It was November and I had been working long days trying to keep up the pace of lesson planning, grading and attempting to maintain some balance in my new professional life as a teacher.

I remember getting many warnings in my college days about the difficulties of being a teacher and especially in the first year, but I overestimated my abilities to keep pace with my own standards of perfectionism.

Burned out

Let’s be honest. I burnt out. I didn’t know what I was going to do, but I had to resign half way through the year leaving my students stranded and the high school scrambling to find a replacement. I put my resume out to nearly any job I could find but the market was nearly as grim as my own outlook.

You know what the worst part of it was? I loved education and I loved my students. How would anyone hire me in the field when I resigned from a full-time teaching appointment? I figured I wouldn’t be able to ever work in education again.

Substitute teaching

So I decided to start subbing.

Yes, that’s right, I was a substitute teacher right after quitting a full-time teaching job. Being a substitute teacher is hard enough in and of itself, but being one after being a teacher drop-out is excruciatingly humiliating. But I knew I needed to swallow my pride, focus on my own health first and then re-build myself as a professional from the ground up.

Things I learned

It was difficult times, but I had amazing family, friends and professionals who supported me through the dark night. I wouldn’t wish the circumstances on anyone, but I also wouldn’t trade the lessons I learned at the earliest days of my career for the world.

I was blessed with hard life-lessons on understanding my own limitations, on developing a healthy work-life balance, on understanding myself on a fundamentally human level vs. viewing my own self-worth through the lens of an externally professional reputation.

Still learning

Do I still struggle with these things?


Have I arrived?


Am I making any progress?

Every day.

Silver linings

And you know what?

I still am an educator.

Mostly, I get to work every day as a human being helping other people through the difficult and important work of teaching and learning.

*I am forever grateful for the many people in my life who have believed in me even when I haven’t believed in myself. I wouldn’t be here without you and I stand on your shoulders as I do the meaningful work of believing in others around me. 

Online Learner Success Resources (OER)


Award icon

License: Creative Commons (Attribution 3.0 Unported) By

Just the other day I was in a faculty workshop in the College of Arts and Letters at Michigan State University where we touched on Quality Matters as a resource for all of MSU faculty. One of the questions that arose was if there were resources that were general enough to apply to any online learner in terms of preparing them for the online environment no matter what college or learning management system was being used. I mentioned that there were some valuable Open Educational Resources out there that can be remixed at will to any college’s needs.

Helpful modules

If you or anyone you know is interested in these kinds of resources, this is one on the topic of Online Learner Readiness worth your time thanks to the Creative Commons sharing by the California Community Colleges Online Education Initiative.

Please bookmark it if it is something you could build off from (again, it can be remixed freely with attribution of course) or share it with someone you think might find it valuable. I believe deep down that good things were meant to be shared.

Thanks to all of you everywhere who promote student success!


This was another quick quiz my colleague Susan Halick shared with me from Lansing Community College on the topic of “Are online courses right for me?” and my friends over at Michigan Virtual University also created similar resources for new online learners through a tool called OLOT (Online Learning Orientation Tool).

If Trump Led Our Public Universities…

Red wall iconLet’s build a wall in education.

No-one can be admitted unless they meet our carefully crafted requirements.

The ones who don’t get through we will make pay for it.

That way we can only admit the people who are like us so that we can make more and more of us and trample out the masses.

…or let’s not.

Bridge icon

Instead, we will build bridges for the brilliant and beautiful public.

We will work toward setting them up for success so that they can learn from us and we from them.

Sure, it will be messy work and hard work, but it is our job as a public university. It is what we are payed to do by the public we serve. We will likely even have to actually pay for the bridge construction.

But which kind of learning organizations do you think will make a better world?

Ones with walls? Or ones with bridges?

These are the questions we face in our organizations.

Spartan helmetI am proud of being part of a public university reputedly building bridges. #SpartansWill

Truly and astonishingly, these are the questions we face in our world, today.

(I probably goes without saying, but anything I post on my blog having anything to do with politics or opinions in general are not and should not be considered a representation of any organization I work for, but are my own alone). 

#ET4online Reflection

Eight years

MSU Group Picture at #ET4online 2015That is how long I had been wanting to attend a Sloan-C (OLC) conference.

This was the year to make it finally happen. Thankfully, this was just in time to catch the last Emerging Technologies Symposium in Dallas Texas.

It was so good. I would even go as far as saying it was possibly better than the barbeque.

I’m late to the blog reflection thing, but when I read Michelle’s, Phil’s, & Patrice’s, I knew I had to dust of my blog again and say a little something. I will share a couple highlights and then end the post with a picture gallery of the trip.

Why was it so good?

MSU ShoesWell, it would have been good if I had only attended the conference on my own, but there were eight of us that were there together who came all the way from East Lansing’s Michigan State University.

That’s right, eight. It was awesome. We presented multiple times and represented MSU well, I’d say. Dr. Jessica Knott (@jlknott) even wore the shoes to prove it.


Jess, Michelle and Dave SelfieOne of the highlights of the trip was that I finally was able to meet Michelle Pacansky-Brock (@brocansky) in person. I have attended many of her sessions virtually in the past. Because Michelle is an expert on humanizing your online courses, I felt like I knew her already. So, a hearty thank you not only to the internet, but to Michelle who helps me learn how to use it for good rather than be used by it.

This was the first session Nate Evans (@nateevans) and I attended. Michelle presented along with Jill Leafstedt (@JLeafstedt)  and Kristi O’Neil (@kristi_oneil)  from California State University, Channel Islands. Their session was filled to capacity, had lively discussion and even provided the best one-page session infographic handout I have experienced to date at any conference. I wouldn’t expect anything less from the likes of @brocansky. My favorite takeaway from this session was the epic quote: “Don’t be a robot.” Duly noted. That advice is probably far deeper than it might appear on the surface. Am I wrong?

If you want to see more scrambled thoughts on the session, you can explore my feeble attempt to invite publicly collaborative note-taking from attendees of the conference.

Technology Test Kitchen

People interacting with technologyBetween sessions, it was convenient to network and connect with others naturally at the constantly running technology test kitchen which was organized in part by my office roommate, the infamous and aforementioned Dr. Jessica Knott (@jlknott). I was pleased to have grown my personal learning network through this by connecting in-person with people like Laura, Ben, Amy, Michael, Patrice, MahaAlan, Bonnie, Eric, Phil, & Gardner!

Faculty Development

I was reminded of the importance of partnering with offices of institutional quality and improvement at Robert Rivas & Julie Lyon’s session. They presented on Creating an Online Teaching Certification Program for Faculty Development which they had done from Odessa College’s Global Office. The results they shared of retention numbers alone they had tracked was compelling enough to listen to what they had to say. Great work, friends.

Critical Thinking for Online Teaching

Dr. Weiland giving his sessionAnother major highlight was seeing that Dr. Steve Weiland was going to be presenting at the conference on “The Problem with Best Practices: Critical Thinking for Online Teaching.” Dr. Weiland is an MSU faculty member who teaches in the HALE program in the College of Education. I will leave you with a couple of prominent quotes that stood out during his talk.

“This field is in its adolescents.”

“Take a scholarly step back from the assumptions.”

“The written lecture in an online course has incredible advantages that are rarely talked about in EdTech worlds.”

“You don’t get to quality instructional products if you think the very people you are working with are dopes.”

“The second subject of any online learning is the nature of online learning itself.”

“Gain some distance from our habits and assumptions and help students to do the same.”


Of course, there were many other highlights and experiences I had at the conference that I could share, but I will let the following pictures speak for themselves.

What about you? What things stood out to you at #ET4online? Do you plan to go to OLC Innovate next year? I would love to see you there!

Born ReadyTechnology Test KitchenRow MSUStephen, Dave and Nate Present on A11yNate talking about camping in the winterDave and EricDave Presenting on REALJess, Laura and DaveIMG_4997.JPGIMG_4998.JPGIMG_4972.JPGIMG_5013.JPGDave and Gardner