Engagment Stuff

Boy, it has been a long time since the blog has published any new content. I can tell you why — real life. Work has been more than insane the last three weeks and the personal life (you know the one that really matters) has been over the top busy as well. A little travel thrown in last week and major preparation on the new Digital Commons project we are starting up at PSU this summer has put a major dent in my ability to write, read, or even think about anything other than work and family. But with that said, those new iPhone ads rock …

At any rate, this post is about engagement … not the kind that leads to marriage — by the way that is another thing that is part of the insanity, my sister is getting married in a month and we seem to be a big part of the planning process. I am talking about the Engagement Initiative we maintain here at ETS. This whole thing came out of my interest in us thinking more strategically about the kinds of ways we work with faculty and drive adoption of the things we are thinking about and working on. Last year at one of our ETS Leadership retreats I sketched out a process that we are now using to take ideas through to projects … the rain cycle, as many people around my office call it, is designed to help us be agile about starting new things but also be very cautious about what we take towards University service. Getting to the University service level is a dangerous thing — supporting 100,000+ users is not to be taken lightly. What this process gives us is the ability to engage faculty in the use of emerging technologies in a rapid fashion while giving us the time to assess the value and cost of implementation. I wrote about this quite some time ago. At any rate, here is the process map I created:

Engage Process
Click to See

The process starts with the Hot Team concept and follows a series of opportunities for collaboration and assessment all the way around. What is nice is this articulates that it is cool to try something and see if it works … if it doesn’t then we get out. It articulates that a bad idea is OK as long as we know why it is bad.

Fast forward to this week and the fact that NMC Conference is going on. I have several staff there and one of them, Brett Bixler decided to submit a poster that shares the Engage Process Map. He worked with Dave Stong to create a stylized version of it … Brett is all about serious games, as a matter of fact he runs our serious games project and manages our Virtual World blog. He and Dave redesigned the process map to be a game board … just blew me out of the water! I love it … take a peek:

Engage Game

I hope you all like as much as I do. As an aside, the Engage Initiative is working. We have been able to take a dozen or so projects ideas into the cycle and produce not only white papers about them, but we’ve been able to work directly with some great faculty to help us understand where we should be taking this stuff. I wonder how other people get faculty engaged on their campuses?

BTW, you have to read about the process Brett and Dave took in creating their award winning poster.

Update: I just found out the poster won the Judge’s Choice award at the NMC Summer Conference!

3 thoughts on “Engagment Stuff

  1. How can we close the loop on the Engagement Initiative projects….that is, show those interested in the Penn State community what others have done, what has worked/not worked etc.? This would seem to be an important step in moving these new technologies from the early adopters to the “cautious triers”.

  2. That is a great question … one we feel like we’ve established a partial answer for. The problem is that we have not yet been able to effectively execute the answer. One of the big things we have been planning to do for each Engagement Project is create a web-based profile in success space. Each one of these would look a heck of a lot like the following Apple pages:


    The idea is to build a series of pages that not only shows off the work of the faculty involved in the Engagement Project, but also share the outcomes of the whole process — from Hot Team white papers to student voices to project next steps.

    We’ve currently published about 8 or so Hot Team white papers in the last year. Most of those are available at the ETS Blog:


    We also use the process to help us identify speakers for the TLT Symposium and Speaker Series. If there are other ideas, we are all ears!

  3. Pingback: Opportunities for Digital Expression at Cole Camplese: Learning & Innovation

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