rebecca pope-ruark

Monthly Archives: March 2018

Why do you do group projects in your course(s)? Is it because you value collaboration in your field and want to make sure students have some experience in that? Or is it because you are “supposed to” do group projects? In talking with faculty over the last eight years, the answer seems to fall somewhere between those two poles. But almost everyone I talk to admits to not spending time in class… Read More

At the end of 2017, I shared with you my own year-end retrospective, a review of my process for accomplishing goals in 2017. And now that it’s midterm for most of us, I thought I’d revisit the retro meeting as a way to do a process review of your activities and even those of your current courses. The retrospective is the fourth meeting of the Scrum cycle, the last one before planning… Read More

What is your definition of done? Seems like a weird question, but think about it. When is a research project ever really done? When you submit an article? When you become interested in something else? When the funding runs out? What if the article is rejected or earns a revise and resubmit? Did that new direction you are interested in come from something in that original project? What if you are in… Read More

“What are you doing over spring break?” I’ve been telling people (and myself) that I would be conducting an #AFSprint writing challenge this week over our spring break to finish a third article on the first Design Thinking Studio in Social Innovation pilot. It took a long time for me to really process the emotional and intellectual experience of last spring, and I should* be writing about it since the program is… Read More

The Design Thinking Studio in Social Innovation is a major pilot program I helped create at my institution that I’d like to share a bit about here now that it’s midterm. In a previous post, I talked about the connections I see between Agile and design thinking approaches, and this program is the result of that marriage in many ways. A group of colleagues and I got together three years ago to… Read More

In early March, my colleagues Phillip Motley, William Moner and I presented about the Design Thinking Studio in Social Innovation to a packed room at the annual SXSW Edu conference in Austin, TX. Edu is the precursor event to the larger SXSW festivals and brings teachers, innovators, and stakeholders together for three days of deep diving into what education at all levels can look like and achieve. AND Agile Faculty is in… Read More

Have you heard about the attention design thinking is getting in higher ed recently? Peter Miller’s 2015 Chronicle Review article “Is Design Thinking the Future of the Liberal Arts?” might have piqued your interest (or flown under your radar), but I think it’s a question worth considering. Design thinking is a recursive, iterative way of thinking about complex problems distilled from the work of engineers, architects, and graphic and industrial designers. Typically… Read More

One of the things I like about Scrum so much is the intentional shifting of language. Projects can be epics, and activities can be stories. We can sprint instead of just working. We groom the backlog rather than just culling the to-do list. We reflect on commitment not just progress. I know the language turns many people off – why create new terms for the most basic pieces of project management? The… Read More

At the start of the year, I made a commitment to “shop my bookshelves” and to try to read 25 books that were already on my office shelves (plus two more I was really curious about). The idea was that I wouldn’t buy new books until I’d gotten through a bunch of these. HA! I can’t stop buying books, and I’ve gotten at least three Amazon shipments since I wrote that post,… Read More