Engage; The New, New Colossus

Instructional designers, we need your engagement.

  1. You were meant for more than clicking buttons.
  2. You were meant for more than copying and pasting syllabus files.
  3. You were meant for more than cleaning up word docs
  4. …editing HTML
  5. clicking
  6. clicking
  7. and more clicking comboboxes, input fields, emails and author-wares

You were meant to be more then just another cog in the machine. You went to school to help inform, create, and design instruction. You didn’t go to school for this shit; the shit that dominates too much of your job.

You are important, special, but, bound to the capabilities of the machines your bureaucracies bestowed upon the institution. You are bogged down in clicking.. so… much.. clicking; communication and workflows pegged to the inefficiencies of the machine.

Your hands have been bound by golden handcuffs; platforms, systems, and author-ware that promise so much but deliver so little. Your institution neglects to see the cost of your efforts in toiling with these applications; your instructs reject your advice and don’t value your output.


Engage with your process around you, manipulate it, control it, automate it. You can be so much more being the maker of technology then simply the passenger.

Engage with your peers. We are all struggling through these issues together; it is no longer time to meet at conferences and simply continue hemming and hawing about being disempowered by the gears of the machine; we must remake the machine.

Engage with technology; be a producer, not a consumer of technologies. Create your own innovations and bring your ideas to light.

The New Colossus

Follow the advice of the new colossus poem. Quit looking for experts and realize they are all around you. Form new types of teams, pedagogies, organizational structures; push the envelope; Ignore the convention of an industry rigged to a heading of cataclysmic collapse.

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.

Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp! (establishmentedtech)” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired (instructionaldesigners), your poor (developers),
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free (faculty),
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore (all us, who you ignore).
Send these, the homeless (innovators), tempest-tost (“rouge” faculty) to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”


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