Comet Landing, Ebola, Exams + Design Challenges

November 16, 2014

We are closing out exam period, and the library has been packed with students working to pull together evidence of learning from a term of work. Some easily engage in a CENT COM (central command) like mode and dig into individual and group work and others are still developing their notion of academic CENT COM, and being in the library gives a few good models of effective behavior.

30 min before an exam

30 min before an exam

The conversation I like to have with students during this week is that exam period is, perhaps, the closest feeling they will have to what is ahead–a job.  For many,  jobs often feel like exam period with its  rhythm of  preparation and performance moments all throughout a week.  In fact, the admissions team at Gould is headed into short exam period with welcoming a new mid-year students. They worked with me on a design challenge as warm up for re-designing their orientation process.


The mid-year admit needs an orientation process so that they make connections with the Gould community.

The mid-year admits need an orientation process so that they make connections with the Gould community.






Juxtaposing these images highlights that exam periods mimic the realities of  individuals with jobs: we have a team, a task, a goal, and a performance metric.  Dig in. This is real. And this is the future.


The cross-sector adoption of design thinking–from health care, to entrepreneurship,  to the military, to shoe designers, to educators k-16, highlight that the it takes diverse collaborative teams to solve problems.   Here are two headlines grabbed from the internet:

One from NPR:                                                                                       One from


Screen Shot 2014-11-16 at 9.36.19 AM

Screen Shot 2014-11-16 at 9.36.08 AM





Design thinking and  accessible fabrication tools are significantly altering who can tackle problems like ebola and designing a spacecraft that can land on a comet. I suspect that the IDEAS Center at Gould will start to re-shape what exam period looks like at Gould and perhaps we will take on IDEOs design challenges instead.






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