2018 Reflections: Year 2 as an ID

Community Contributor
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Tom Hanks typing in You've Got Mail


When I started as an Instructional Designer in 2017, I had really no idea what I was getting into. I had made a few career hops (technical support to human resources to high school teacher to junior high teacher), but instructional design was never on my radar. In fact, I had plans to move on to being a university professor - I even had it lined up! I was basically waiting for a faculty member to retire, and then I could step into her position. But at the end of 2016, I applied and was hired as an instructional designer for a community college. I couldn't be happier with the choice.


So what made 2018 great? For me, it was a year of exploration. I spent the first year in this position learning the ropes, learning about the college, learning how the office worked, learning what it meant to design instruction. I learned about the deep sides of Canvas and was introduced to the Community. I exposed myself to as many different ideas and philosophies and theories as I could. Why? Because I wanted to know how to do this thing well--I wanted to see how to make instruction rise above the mire, stretch its wings, and fly into the glorious sunset. Did that happen? Eh. But did I learn things? Absolutely. Here's a short list:

  • How the API structure works and to write my own API calls
  • How to build courses that are gamified and fun
  • How to leverage the Community to find answers a little more quickly
  • How to use established courses as a jumping off point for redesigning new ones
  • How to keep accessibility at the forefront without telling people "no"
  • How to tell people "no"
  • How to make something simple sound like a life-changing, course-changing idea
  • How to manage my time on my projects


Not too shabby, though that's not including all the hard lessons. All the times I had to learn to not bring work home to my wife and kids. All the times I had to learn that an angry email or phone call isn't the end of the day. All the times that other people's failures did not mean that I, too, was a failure. All the times that I just had to hit reset and start over (or that one time that I realized I couldn't undelete something. That was a bad day.). 


Overall, 2018 was good. I feel like it was a good year two. Now, onto year three - new challenges and issues. New projects. New relationships and courses. So cheers to the new year.