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Why Must I Insist on Making it Complicated?

“Design is the method of putting form and content together. Design, just as art, has multiple definitions; there is no single definition. Design can be art. Design can be aesthetics. Design is so simple, that’s why it is so complicated.”  — Paul Rand

I have a crazy ritual every time we are having friends over for dinner:  I pull out a recipe I’ve never made before, but have been dying to try.  It’s never simple, and usually includes hours of preparation which takes time away from something important like cleaning the house.  It may well be a diversionary tactic, as I am not too fond of house cleaning – but unfortunately I think it’s my style.  I love taking on new challenges, having new adventures, learning how to do new things.  I need help marrying deadlines with new discoveries.

Course design should be simple – as Rand said ‘putting form and content together.’  I keep getting sidetracked with theory or more content or exciting activities or, this time, with the concept of Learning Analytics (see a future blog because I found some cool stuff).  The Smith book lays it all out there in a step-by-step process.  That is all I need to do.  But I want to pull out the new recipes.

It’s time for mise en place.  Just as preparing the mise en place ahead of time allows a chef to cook without having to stop, chop, and assemble items, this is what I must do for the project.

Step one Smith style is to gather all materials used to teach the course, document how it is currently organized and thoughts on revision then document the modules to cover over the course duration.  Step one Moore style is to state the measurable goal and the job behavior that will reach the goal; next structure activities.  There is no single definition, so where do I start – I’m making it too complicated.


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