try fail learn

I like blogging. In addition to writing for the Jersey Alliance blog I have my own blog, vivid scribbles. In an effort to engage students through e-learning initiatives this year I started an NSO wisdom blog. I created one post that served as a pre-learning module to a tour guide training in-service. This post has a sliderocket presentation about tour giving and I encouraged students to comment and ask questions about the art of tour guide training. 52 comments later I felt it was a success. As I gear up for our intensive training weeks I thought about all of the e-mails we send out with updates about training and considered if there was a “better way to do this”. I thought about the blog. What if we post updates, information and teasers about presenters and what the students can expect for intensive training on the blog? They can post comments or questions that I can monitor and respond to. So I decided I would try this out.

I e-mailed the students leting them know that I would post updates, information and teasers to the blog. I let them know that whenever there was a new post I would make the link the facebook status of the NSO Rutgers facebook page (which they have been all asked to “friend”). As for those that don’t have facebook or are not friends with NSO…they were encouraged to bookmark the page and check it regularly.

I was greeted with a range of feedback thus far.  “I doubt they check it”, “that’s a little risky don’t you think”, “I don’t know about this idea”– is a representation of some of the criticism I received.

I might fail. This might really tank. But how will I ever learn if I don’t try.

We all have had this happen before. We have an idea, and are met with criticism. Most of the time it is because others get caught up in the details. We have a lot of great analytical thinkers in higher education. The problem with that is when you analyze from every angle you risk getting caught up in the details.

Steve Jobs says “always be launching”. Safe programs and projects are not what gets people recognized. The award-winning programs start out sometimes as epic failures.

Try…fail…learn.

Courtney O’Connell

Rutgers University

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