I’m trying really hard to write more and this summer has been a challenge because I swore off doing what I normally do, which is too much. I took a semester or two off from my Master’s and got my head down in some work at work. I should probably update y’all on what I am doing because I typically write about that periodically – maybe not often enough?
So, I’m currently in my third year as Lead Learning Technologist – which is kind of middle management, kind of feet on the ground type of role. I don’t have budgetary oversight, but I do oversee the LMS team and play a role in guiding that ship through the stormy weather. The LMS team is small (two front-line support analysts and one senior systems administrator who manages the backend processes) but rockstars from top to bottom. My role is to plan out the projects, lend a hand where possible, do some of the long-term visioning, do some short-term put out fires, and help clean up messes. Ultimately, I’m not entirely responsible, but I am in many ways entirely responsible. That kind of middle spot is somewhat frustrating, but also rewarding. I get some freedom still, but I still have to run the major decisions up the flagpole. I also am the conduit between central IT and the LMS team which sits within Teaching and Learning.
It took a while, but I let go of the last of the old job (which was front-line support and LMS administrator, plus more) which was doing the LMS updates for the university about six months ago. It felt weird, and I will admit I left that until the last because I frankly loved keeping my toe in the water. Perspective is a weird thing in that the closer I come to the top (and it’s only been one minor step up) I can see that everyone is as frustrated as I am at the middle management problem – you’re always constrained by someone else’s decisions. I’m lucky in that I can have that clarity and I couldn’t imagine how I would function if I wasn’t able to see it and it was hidden from me.
We’re doing two large projects at the moment, finally launching a course outline library tool (and re-architecting some decisions that weren’t exactly built into the first iteration of the design of the tool’s functionality) and doing an LMS RFP – which is overdue because we were in a funded project for several years which precluded our ability to RFP and then the pandemic happened. So this is the first time since… forever. I’m acting as technical lead on both those projects. Technical lead is a weird thing that probably deserves it’s own chunk of writing (so wait for it, coming in 2025!).
I’ve been trying my best to help guide some things around AI without getting too involved in the policy, making diversity and equity a component of technological purchasing, and thinking a lot about process. I also spent a good chunk of time on this chapter in this ebook/anthology celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the Teaching and Learning centre at McMaster.
Other than that, it’s just business as usual.