Narrating my practice

An Identity Blur

I recently heard someone refer to whatever day it is in this quarantine as “blursday.” Today feels like a blursday. I’ve had many things blur together this past week, with notions of identity (both personal/professional and digital) bubbling up in the blur. I’m going to try to make sense of that blur here.

Earlier this week, I spoke to a prospective graduate student who is considering working with my PhD advisor. During our phone call, I found myself digging deep to remember what graduate school was like and what I used to study, and how I found my way to a new career that’s not related to what I used to study (I briefly told this story in the #DigPINS Week 1 intro video). I had shared my Google Scholar profile with them so that they’d get a sense of the research I did with my advisor. But afterwards, I was wondering whether I should have sent them my personal website where I talked about my alternative academic career shift in a blog post. That would have saved me from telling the long story about my career journey on our phone call so I could have answered their questions about grad school. 

I’m not sure if our conversation helped the student, but it was helpful for me to reflect on how much my identity has shifted since I arrived at Colgate, especially in light of all of the readings, meetings and activities for #DigPINs that were also on my mind this week. I think the idea of a “digital identity” provides something I can latch on to when I think about my shifted and shifting personal/professional identity, which was ultimately what my phone call with that student reminded me of. But, it also occurred to me this week that I feel like I’m finally coming into my own in my not so new anymore role/identity as an instructional designer. 

“Connected learning” is in my job description as an instructional designer, but I’ve always struggled with how to package the concept to introduce to faculty; I’ve had success introducing individual tools for connected learning (like, but I’ve never been sure how to introduce connected learning as a pedagogical framework to faculty, especially at Colgate which emphasizes face-to-face teaching and learning. 

This was the first week that I actually talked about connected learning as a framework to faculty within my #DigPINS cohort and beyond. It’s no coincidence that this overlapped with Week 1 of #DigPINS (which behind the scenes is like week 4 or 5 for me as a facilitator). Being a facilitator of #DigPINS while also participating in it at the same time has helped me to make a deeper sense of connected learning as a model for teaching and learning (and faculty development). That dual-role has given me the confidence to talk about the design of a connected learning experience and the types of learning than can stem from it, because I myself have learned so much this week! I even had some a-ha moments about how I could begin to model connected learning as part of some of my upcoming faculty workshops at Colgate.

This is exciting for me because faculty are eager to explore strategies for teaching remotely and it’s a perfect time to talk about connected learning, but more selfishly, I feel like I’m finally ready to plug away at a missing page on my personal website that captures these newly formed (but ever forming) parts of my professional identity as an instructional designer. I didn’t read Maha Bali’s post about ideas for your first #DigPINS blog post until after I wrote most of this post, but I think my missing page on my website will take the form of an #Alt-CV.

All of this is to say that this week, I’ve realized just how much elements of my personal/professional identity have changed since I’ve been in this position, but it feels empowering to have access to digital tools that can help me craft my digital identity in a way that reflects my ongoing journey. Things feel a little less blurry for me now.