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2018 Reflections: Year 2 as an ID

Community Contributor
15 6 393

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.



Community Coach
Community Coach

Hey I bet you would have laughed at a fortune teller a few years ago  @akinsey . We are all so pleased that your career took an exceptional detour. 


Community Contributor

So true! I probably would have called them a liar and stormed off, but here we are! Thanks!


Awesome post, Alan! I was reflecting on your words and found a lot of them insightful as CSM. There is a lot of similarities between our roles at times and its nice reminder to remember what we have learned. Saying "no" isn't the greatest feeling in the world but saving people from themselves is often what makes us the most successful. Thanks for your participation in the community and sharing what you have learned. 

Community Participant

Congratulations,  @akinsey ! It sounds like you've embraced the change in your career direction path! Whoohoo!


Community Champion

YAY,  @akinsey ‌, this is great! You know I vote for FUN ha ha.

And the world is indeed a balancing act between fun and no. Learning both fun and how-to-say-no is the way to go! Saying no makes room for more/better/different fun stuff after all. 🙂

Community Participant

I also came to the ID world by a circuitous but likewise enjoy it greatly. Here's to 2019!