I’m sure this won’t be the last time I face a deadline and have to decide.  Do I deliver well a bit late or deliver less on time?  In this case, I have been sick and also have borne the time-consuming task of preparing my new laptop at the same time.  It’s difficult to complain about a fever with my beautiful new laptop in its box awaiting exploration!  So here is my first design entry, one day late with a slight hint of eau de cough drop.

There are many ways I could structure this entry.  I’d like to start with what I believe will be an excellent influence as I work through this semester:  my new mentor.  As she was leaving class tonight, Sarah shouted out, “Who’s Kathryn?”  Perfect introduction!  Little did she know she would help me even after we left.  Of course, I hunted down her design journal.  (It’s in a tab right next door!)  So in case she stalks and finds mine, I can tell her, “It’s me, Sarah!  I heard your advice, too.  Well, rather…I read it.  I found great comfort, too.  I was most relieved to read that we have time.”  I was also quite happy to read that she already knows how to use PhotoShop to make areas of a graphic transparent.  I am still in my PhotoShop infancy, resorting to Gimp and a lot of clumsy steps to accomplish that important task!  =)  Reading that part was the moment I realized I had been matched with the right mentor!

One advantage to being a day late is that I can respond to Dr. Rieber’s challenge to think of a time when I was a self-directed learner.  My mind keeps coming back to the day I decided to install my grandmother’s answering machine.  Sure, this sounds easy.  I had an electrical engineering degree and had installed many things.  The only trouble was, she had no second phone line.  I remember contemplating giving up, having my brother do it instead.  It was difficult to figure out for some reason.  I can’t even remember the exact challenge.  In the end, though, the line was wired, the machine lit up, and my voice announced to all callers that my grandmother, as usual, was out and about.  I tried to think of a more confident experience, but I think this one will serve me better.  I don’t want to give up.  Sure, my brother can be a great resource.  So can a lot of other people in the two current cohorts.  It’s going to be great.

I was astonished to hear Dr. Rieber mention Michelangelo and his scultping as related to design, a process of elimination to achieve what was already there.  I really can’t see anything in a block of marble, but I do see a lot with Microsoft Word in front of me.  I have often compared the creation of a project or the editing of a document to sculpting, even as recently as this summer as I helped edit Saviour’s and Hakan’s work.

I gave some more thought to the rock climbing metaphor for design.  I think it’s a good metaphor, but I decided to think about my own thoughts of rock climbing to see how they might extend it.  I have two main thoughts about rock climbing:  the almost primal determination to make it to the top and the sage advice to keep your body close to the rock.  I’m hoping my determination and tendency to even growl to push myself past what I thought were my limits to reach the top will serve me well in instructional design.  I probably need to curb the growling to be a better teammate.  Staying close to the wall is more interesting to me.  What is the wall in the metaphor?  It’s obvious to see what the top is and the footholds are the concrete things we create along the path of our design.  So is the design the rock itself?  It’s interesting to think about.

As for the Moggridge reading, I was optimistic when I saw Dilbert at the beginning.  I really enjoyed each section.  As a math educator and engineer, though, I got hung up on the diagram on p. 658 with four quadrants.  Where have I been and where am I going?  It looks like I started in the technical and objective quadrant of digital design.  What was missing?  The human component!  Sure, I worked with people and for people, but my work wasn’t about people.  Perhaps I belong more in the human and subjective quadrant, clearly still in digital design.  What is graphic design doing in the physical design part?  Is instructional design the digital version of graphic design?  If so, then I think that better explains  why this new path works for me.  It’s not a combination of educator and engineer.  Rather, it’s the human side of digital design.  Truth be told, I think I belong right on the negative part of the y-axis.  Hmm.  I’ll have to run with that thought!


I am trusting Sarah that I have plenty of time to further develop my project ideas.  At this point, I am considering two possibilities.

  • An interactive exploration of my mother’s life and her impact on the world.
  • An interactive site presenting the experiences of a twenty-first century foreign exchange student in the United States.

Despite Dauray’s obvious success with her beautiful project presenting the adoption of her daughter, I found myself initially shying away from the project about my mother just as I can’t seem to complete the scrapbook I started.  I found myself asking whether this type of project will be an asset to my portfolio.  That’s when I thought of the exchange student idea.

I’m leaning towards the first idea, though, for several reasons.

  1. My motivation will be high since I am the last best person to capture what could one day be lost.
  2. Perhaps I abandoned the physical scrapbook because my strengths are more in the digital world.
  3. My mother has been such an influence in my life.  Her creativity led me to this field.  If I can convey that creativity, connecting it somehow to my own journey, then it will fit perfectly into my portfolio.
  4. My mother was beautiful so I know I can create something beautiful about her.

Tool Thoughts

I could certainly create an interactive scrapbook with Dreamweaver or Captivate, both tools I am eager to learn and will probably use in the future.  My dream, though, would be to create something like the Biography app on my iPad, only with a little more modern and personal touch.  I would love to explore what tools might help me create what is in my mind.