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Countdown to Launch

August 24, 2012

With the launch of the very first Community Course a little over a week away, I feel like I’m getting ready to give birth. Nesting, perhaps?

The Community Course concept came to me in the middle of one night — I woke up thinking, “yeah, I can make this work!”. The problem? How to deliver a required professional development course to 2,000 faculty by the end of November 2012. First thing that comes to mind? MOOC, right? Not for APUS. Not yet. We wanted an option that would be available to our faculty only. The biggest obstacle that I was facing in creating a massive delivery option was the OPEN piece. And that’s the best part of the MOOC.

So, I thought about what I would do in a physical situation — IRL, on a real campus. I’d host a lecture series open to the entire campus community, with limited seating (1,000). Then, I’d host study groups, and assign study group leaders to facilitate the dialogue. I turned the concept into a project plan overnight, and we (the CTL team) have taken it from there! It has been months of work writing, editing, planning, scheming, revising, reworking, reinventing, exploring, sharing, drawing, redrawing, struggling, learning, relearning, and so on.

None of this could have moved forward without the brains and steam of the CTL Community Course team: Chris Reynolds, Barb Manuputy, Raven Townsend, CJ Fitzgerald, and Kirsten Avey. Extra mention to Raven, who helped me see beyond every obstacle that was on the pathway. And back to the birthing metaphor, I feel like she’s been beside me the entire time helping me with everything. If she could catch this baby in her hands, I know she would!

There will be things that will go wrong when we launch (I believe in Murphy’s Law), but this is going to be an exciting endeavor. I’ll be blogging throughout the duration of the course, and keeping track of what works, and what needs more work.

So far, lessons learned:

  1. Keep that paper and pencil handy by the side of the bed! My favorite piece of ephemera from all of this is the concept diagram that I drew in the middle of the night.
  2. You CAN do anything when you have a boss/team leader who stands behind you 100%. That support is priceless.
  3. When you can’t have what you want, create something brand new. Well, I already knew that — it’s what keeps me going!
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One Comment
  1. M Raven Townsend permalink

    Dearest Phylise, Yes, you are creating something magnificent. To keep with your metaphor, I stand by you, I support you, and I am honored to play an active role in the birth of your baby – “as your doula!”
    Your guidance and expertise throughout the development of the Community Course has allowed me the opportunity to fully embrace this experience. The leadership of the CTL team allows the fostering of innovation and team spirit. I feel blessed.

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