Lessons Learned as a WCET’er

Published by: Lindsey Rae Downs | 10/13/2016

Tags: Practice

For the last 7.5 years I have had the opportunity to work with some of the best people in technology-enhanced higher education – the WCET staff and members. I am a better person, a better learner, and a better educator because of the experiences I’ve had and the relationships I’ve built through WCET.

WCET team at the Escape Room, Boulder CO, 2016

Since 2008, I’ve worn a WCET staff hat – the title on it changed a few times and I’ve been through 2 major grants, 1 minor grant, the birth of 2 kids, 3 dogs, 3 computers, over 12,000 tweets, and a million laughs.  I will always be grateful for my time as a WCET staffer.

But now it’s time to change hats – to that of a WCET Member.  On August 8th, I began my tenure as director of alternative learning at American Public University System. I’m ecstatic to be on the APUS team, many of whom I’ve worked closely with for years – since we embarked on Transparency by Design together – and help support learners in their pursuit of credentials together.

As director of alternative learning, I have the opportunity to put many things I’ve learned over the years at WCET into practice to help learners – from competency-based education to badges and microcredentials – I get to get my hands into the innovation I’ve been studying for years.

I will admit, when we at WCET were doing our badging and gaming initiative “Who’s Got Class?” and our Badges MOOC with Mozilla and Blackboard, I wondered “to what end?”  Sure, I worked with amazing people on those, but what I wondered all along is, “how would that possibly help our members in their practice?” Now I know.  Without these demonstration projects, I would not have the base I do to be able to build out these kinds of programs for learners.

Which is a nice segue into my Top Lessons Learned as a WCET Staffer:

  1. Participate in Demonstration Projects. Seriously, folks.  The staff work hard to put these on, and while it may seem like fun and games at the time, there is real value to be gained.
  2. Read the Articles Digests. Lindsey, the new manager of communications at WCET, will be doing all the hard work for you.  She combs through all the outlets and pulls together the things you need to know most for your practice.  When I got the DETA grant, I identified Lindsey for the articles digest role, and am so glad that she will now be on the WCET team.  I now depend on these digests and can assure you they couldn’t be in any better hands.
  3. Follow WCET on Twitter. There is even more great information shared here – not just announcements of what WCET has going on but interesting news you should know. Follow WCET @wcet_info.
  4. Engage with other WCET’ers – at the Annual Meeting, the Summit, during webcasts, and on social media. I am so grateful for my WCET colleagues all over the nation.  I learn so much with you all and value the friendships I’ve built.  I truly feel that those who gather around WCET are some of the brightest, most hard working educators in the nation.
  5. Get involved with WCET. Write a blog post about a project you have going on so others can learn from your trials and triumphs. Run for the Steering Committee. Write a Talking Point about a topic you are an expert in.  WCET is truly a cooperative – a community that comes together around excellence in technology-enhanced learning – and it is only strengthened by the contributions of WCET members.
Catalyst Camp, 2009 WCET Annual Meeting

So this is not a farewell, I will still be a part of the community, just in a new role. I look forward to seeing many of you, my people, my mentors, my friends at the WCET Annual Meeting in Minneapolis this week.

And if you’re ever in southwest Montana, near Yellowstone, be sure to drop me a line (calimorrison at gmail dot com), tweet me @calimorrison, call or me 406.580.5894.  I’d love to tell you about the spots we locals love!

Will see you in WCET circles!



Cali Morrison
Director of Alternative Learning, APUS

2 replies on “Lessons Learned as a WCET’er”

Best wishes Cali. I haven’t seen that Catalyst Camp photo before. That was a great time. 2009? Oh my. So, have they posted your job???? APUS is lucky to have you.

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