Day before yesterday my colleague, Allan Gyorke, and I gave a talk to the Instructional Design and Development group at the Penn State World Campus related to Digital Expression. It is a talk I've done before and it really focuses on the platforms PSU has been working to deliver for the last 18 months or so. The talk frames the need by looking relatively deeply at the changing characteristics of our undergraduate resident population -- they are very mobile, very smart, and very plugged into social spaces (read, Facebook). I use a bunch of PSU statistics gathered by our assessment team as well as numbers from the Pew Internet and American Life Project team.
After the warm-up I tend to dive into the tools we are highlighting -- Blogs at Penn State, Podcasts at Penn State, Wikis at Penn State, as well as the Digital Commons initiative and a few others. What made this conversation different was the fact the audience was a group of instructional designer and technologists -- certainly a fun group to talk to. I was struck by how interested most of them seemed to be in the tools and how willing they were to discuss how we might think about using them. I was also struck by how excited many of them got as we continued to talk. It was a very fun hour and a half ... it left me thinking two things -- I would very much like to spend more time with groups of interested designers who are in the midst of creating lots of learning spaces and that I have now done this presentation for about a dozen audiences at Penn State but have failed to deliver it to my own staff. That last point hit me last night as I sat on the back patio with a glass of wine -- talk about having one of those reality check, "duh" moments. That is obviously something I have to do.
The thing about the talk is that it really tries to define one of my core strategies -- enabling opportunities for faculty, staff, and students to engage in the art of digital expression within the context of higher education. One of my goals is to create a platform that provides for supported use of digital tools to not only enhance teaching and learning, but that can creep into everyday life. The other thing it does is illustrates how quickly we are all moving ... two years ago these platforms didn't exist in a coherent way on our campus. The talents of many people have made it a reality.