Episode 7: Structuring Flexible Values with Chelsea Drouillard and Gary Tubbs
5:00PM Mar 15, 2021
All right. Hey guys, we're here today with Chelsea, Gary and Shannon. Hello. Oh,
So we're on zoom, but we're just doing the audio. So we are continuing our conversation around innovation and value, and how we think that value and measuring and defining value should be what drives innovation, and not just looking at innovation as a value itself. So we've been talking with professors, some different people, and we want to hear from some students about what they have to say and how they perceive value in education. But before we jump into education, we, I want to kind of ask you this question and don't think about it at all in a school context. But when I say hey, when you are looking for something of value, or you're looking for a value, what kind of jumps to your mind first?
Why is something that's like, important to you? So it can be like anything from like a, like, the way that you teach or like, the way that you can do something? Or just kind of depends on the person.
I don't know, for some reason, what comes to my mind instantly as like quality. So I guess like, it could kind of tie it in with what Gary was saying. Like what you perceive as important. So like, if you perceive that as important, you would assume that it's like, good quality. So I don't know quality is just like a term that
comes to my mind was
We're going to jump into education here in a second but just our conversation earlier today, I think maybe let's let's look at this so I can give you guys a context to to apply this so we were talking about clubhouse, you know, all the new rage. And you guys were talking about some of the things that you that you think about it that might even reflect kind of values. So can you guys tell me about why clubhouse is cool to you?
Um, I like that openness, openness and flexibility. Okay.
Yeah, I like that. Guy, most of the time on clubhouse, you get to hear what people think especially like celebrities. So it's, it's like a it's better than hear like seeing them tweet about something. So they get to speak more about the problem, you can see like how, like gravely affected it is or how, like, how much they care about that topic. depend on like, how they're arguing. And I also like how, like, it allows like anybody to, you know, have a opinion.
And with that, I think the nice thing is like, you know, kinda like podcasts kind of helped celebrities, or like, you know, bigger name people speak up. And not feel like they're in a structural interview where it feels like scripted. So I feel like clubhouses like a next step of that of a podcast, because it's not just a conversation with one or two, three people. You have like, a live audience. Plus, you have people that can chime in whenever they want kind of thing. So
yeah, I agree.
Yeah, Gary, you were talking about another thing that you really liked about clubhouse? Can you share that again? Because I think that's great. Like,
it's like the drama that comes with it. Like it doesn't feel like it's like entertaining drama. It's not like something like a, like a reality TV or something. Like if they're arguing about situations that we're you know, talking about, like you can can be like pro police brutality or, like the Presidents or lessons and you can be like, you really people are really like you really hear people's like perspective when they're arguing about something like that. So like, I think that's like, very entertaining like a good platform to like voice your opinion without like, uh, you know, having to type it out or you having to feel like it's structured or something.
Yeah, and you had mentioned that not just the the entertainment quote unquote value but the kind of the novelty of not knowing what your Oh yeah. So is that a that's a draw. That's a value to you.
Yes. Like, like, I love the baits. And I love when I don't know what to expect. So it's like a, like someone could be arguing. And like, someone can be saying something simple like, I don't agree with this. And then you hear another person like quickly like, Oh, no, you shouldn't agree, you should agree with this, or, you know, just you get to hear, like a real reaction, as opposed to like a, like an interview where, you know, they ask questions, wait for you to respond. But what this one like they're going to respond when they feel like it. So
genuine and spontaneous. Yeah.
All right. So Shannon, take us away, we got it. We got to get off the clubhouse train here. Even though it's pretty cool.
No, I think that's a good train. I was just thinking, like, the words that Chelsea was using, like flexibility, openness, genuine, participatory, seems like it's part of that too. Can you think of an example, when you've seen those values or other values that you hold in your classes, like when you could tell that what you valued was also like showing up in the class or was also valued in the class.
So I can say this, like in the iOS Design Lab, how like I value, like the process over like, the end result, more than I'm not saying, I'm gonna say, like, more than I should. But, you know, we speak about like, the process more than we speak about the end result. And like, every time we finally get that end result, we see like, it's something that we did wrong, or, you know, something that we messed up, we speak about it, and we try to grow on it, as opposed to like, Okay, well, at least you guys finished it. You know, like, we sit there and work on it. Yeah,
I think the iOS Design Lab is like, I mean, out of the classes I've had, I like the most with flexibility and openness. Like, it's not, I mean, that was the point of the, the program is to, like, not feel like a structured classroom. I mean, I need like structure, but I also like flexibility. So like, you know, I have a class for instance, that's like, I will most classes are they're very Alright, this week, this lessons this, okay, on to the next like, while like iOS Design Lab. Okay, I'm using like my researching experiences class is an example. While the iOS Design Lab, kind of like whatever we're learning is part of the process. And that's part of the like, you know, the project that we're doing, while my other class is more like, okay, we're learning about this, you're going to play, I don't know how to describe it, like, you're going to apply this to this project now. Okay, on to the next one. So it's not really like, it's just kind of like bits and pieces, while like, iOS design labs, like one whole, I don't know what I'm trying to explain like the project, like the end result is like, the, the whole process to whatever we're learning.
Yeah, like in other classes, we wouldn't focus on like the feedback that we received from like our peers, as much as we would like an iOS lab, or we wouldn't even talk to our team as much like only thing that we will speak about what our teammates is, you know, did you get this project, as opposed to like, a design lab was awesome. Okay, did you guys do this, so we can learn this? Or we need to know separate the teams, you know. So like, you can hear like in the iOS Design Lab, like the process that we work more so in the process, as opposed to like chatting it to everyone?
Yeah, I think that's really interesting. Like the parallels between clubhouse and the design lab. like not to over emphasize those, but I do think there's some interesting similarity and that like you the process like you don't know exactly what you're getting into maybe with a clubhouse discussion. And similar, like, when you're working on a team, like you might have a sense of like, Okay, I'm going to hear about this topic on clubhouse or like, Okay, this is our project, but then the process takes that somewhere that's unexpected. And so figuring out how to respond to that is a different kind of thing then, okay, this is the project that I'm going to do and like my professor already has an idea of what the end result is going to be because like, if I'm supposed to turn in a podcast and I turn in an essay, it's very clear that I didn't do the assignment. So that like letting process determine the end is very different than the end determining the process. So that's that's really interesting. clubhouse as an illustration of that from a class value.
So what are some other classes? So you've mentioned the design lab. And we don't just have to talk about that. But what are some other spaces where you have seen? Or maybe you became aware that up, like, so we've been talking with some other groups that even every single class is kind of a professor kind of putting their values on display, like, hey, these are the concepts I value. Here's the content I value, even the way you structure the norms within the class, like you see a lot of values. I mean, for example, you guys are an iOS Design Lab. And you, Chelsea, you mentioned the structure and flexibility. You know, for me, as the as a one of the leaders, that structure is not my strong suit, it's not high up on my values list. So it's hard for me to like, push that out. If you want to talk about flexibility, you know, this is like my number one value, we can do that all day long. But have you seen this in other spaces, where you've been able to perceive some of the values of the professor or they or you think that the professor or instructor however you want to say that has, has tried to understand what students value?
Yeah, so this actually just happened recently. I can tell you like, what is that class? Or was that like, 3 million that are the same? But um, so we were doing this project, and basically, you have to, like, create a website, like telling us about us, and when we think about, like, creative creativity and entrepreneurship, and we got to do day. It was somewhere last month, not sure. But I do remember, like the, the teacher emailing us saying, like, Okay, everybody didn't do this, right. And I know, like, we're in quarantine. So you might have slipped your mind. So I'm going to allow everyone to, you know, redo it, instead of just like giving us a grade, like she saw that, you know, we do have a lot of classes, and we are sitting at home. So it's kind of harder to you know, have that focus opposed to like being in a class. So, yeah, that was that's how she tried to, you know,
I think, yeah, definitely. We're like, in the situation where she, like, the teachers can empathize the students and the students empathize the teachers. And I feel like, you know, they tried, like, we're just all trying to make the best we can out of the current situation, give flexibility to students, during this time. trying to think of anything.
Is that flexibility? Something that you've noticed more since COVID? Or can you think of flexibility, like examples before?
Now, I would say, like, Sony as like, COVID, start s when the professor became more flexible? Because I remember before that, it was like, Oh, you didn't turn it in at this time? Well, oh, oh, you need more time to do this. Oh, like everyone else needs the same thing. But now it's more like, Okay, I understand. You know, we're in COVID. Were you going through this for it? You know, it like they're a lot more understanding.
is, you know, like, I think, you know, MSU was pretty big on like, you can only have three miss class?
I don't know. Can't remember. But yeah,
so that's, that's nice. And it's definitely, that's pretty much gone. I mean, I think I've one class where they actually like, if you're not like you have to engage, and they look at the chat. And if you don't engage, like that's your attendance and it's marked off, but still, like, you know, like at on campus, if you like, I think missed more than I think it was like five classes or something. Or nine, maybe you fail.
yeah. It's interesting how we can make things like we can accommodate when we have to. It's like, Oh, thanks could actually be far more accessible all the time. Yeah.
Yeah, I'm really interested in that too. And I think one of the reasons why is that and you As opposed to this really well, like we're we are in a similar context. So it's a lot easier. I think, Gary, you said like, even how we empathize with each other, because we realize, Hey, this is really hard for everyone. Sometimes it's harder to empathize when we're not really aware of situations. Right? So currently, there's this shared grief, this loss that all of us hardship right now with everyone. So how do we, how do you guys think we could keep that moving forward?
I know, that's, you know, let's, I was kind of thinking like, Okay, if COVID is shifting into this thing, where we kind of see it as like, the flu, and we just live with it. And all these places are like opening back up. But also everyone is starting to, like, I'm a person that, like, I'm starting to realize, I appreciate in person stuff, but I also like the flexibility of like, I can just roll out of my bed and get on here. So it makes me wonder, like, you know, like, there's some workplaces that are noticing, like, people are being more productive being at their home, like, a wonder where we're going to find the balance of like, yeah, we're gonna have like, we're going to do stuff in person, and digitally, like, like, have it become more accessible? Because I like that. I like how we're, we're accommodating. And that, I mean, I feel like you got to hold some sort of
want to call it.
You got to hold people accountable certain things, but like, I don't know, it's nice to have the option, I
guess. Yeah, I
think that goes back to your not structure versus flexibility, but structure and flexibility. Right? Because a really interesting concept.
And it also tells me what you're saying reminds me of values that like, pre COVID, in person, expectations, like reign supreme, that was like how we were together. But now like, when we have to go online, and we have to figure out like, Okay, how do we still interact and get things done? And, and in some ways, we can be more accessible. And in some ways we can be more productive. I think it can sort of distill, what do we value about the in person interaction? How do we retain some of that? And then how do we also value more accessibility and maybe even just like, a gentleness that is like, okay, we don't have to always be in class every day for 15 weeks, or else you fail. Maybe we can do like both, ideally, or some version of both.
Kind of like with the idea of shifting away from, like, glamorizing working 80 hours a week or two, you know what I mean?
I don't know, kind of reminds me of that.
Now, it's just working 80 hours a week in your pajamas, but has it really shifted? Cool. So, um, I think it would be interesting, because we've been talking about value a lot. Um, do you guys see value in terms of innovation, or maybe think about a time in one of your classes where something was really innovative, or there was an approach to something? What are some things that you've seen in your years at the University of maybe an innovative approach? Good.
So last semester, I had this graphic design class, where we basically just like created, like, you know, data charts or something for a project. And you know, how, like, usually classes give you an assignment, they have a structure of how you wanted to do it, you know, you just have to follow that. But within this class, he was like, Okay, I don't like that. And I'll see like a flaw in that. So he decided that, like, the way that we do the assignment, was the way that we interpret it. So however we interpret it is, you know, like how the assignment was done. And we always got credit for that, like, the way that you think about an assignment or the way that you do it inside. As you need to use so like, nobody can say like you did it wrong. I said, the professor. So I think that was like really, I really, really innovative. And that's like something that's gonna stick in my mind. Because it's very hard to think about, like a lot of stuff now.
for that assignment, Gary, did the professor asked you, like, did you have to explain? How, like why you chose to represent things in a certain way?
Yeah. So basically say that we had to create like a, like, say, like a data chart, or I don't know, something like, I don't know, just take it like something like that. So if we decided that, okay, I want to go more into detail about that, or I want to search up something with those. If that was something else within that, then I can do that. It's just I will have to explain why I chose that. We're like, what, how does this relate to the project?
That's really interesting.
I feel like, I keep going back to this.
I feel like I've also had a class where we were like, open rein to kind of do whatever we want. But once again, I like I like structure or like a timeline. So like, for instance, like the iOS Design Lab, for when we were working with Denise, like, you had like a timeline right now, like, you should be expected to have this done. But your how you guys want to do is kind of like up to you, kind of thing. So, because, or like clear expectations is like, something that I think is important. But I also like have, you know, kind of like free rein to however you want to do it.
I feel like like when a class is like more, like innovative like that, like it sticks to the students more like, I remember those classes over like the, you know, probably 30 classes I've had, like that one is sticking out to me. So every time that, you know, a class has a new uniqueness like that, or not, even in classes, like anything, like there's gonna be like a job or anything that will always stick with you. And you will always have that mindset, which allows you to grow and do more.
Yeah, it's way different to like if I determine how I want to visually represent this data, and then I need to explain why I chose that like that. It makes you think in a different way than like, oh, the professor told me to do the project this way. And I did it and I turned it in.
I also think there could be a challenge with too much like ambiguity, like, too much free rein, because I've been in classes to where, like, I can't think of a specific one, which doesn't really help. But like, there was I know, there was a time where like, I was in, like sitting with a bunch of classmates, and they were like, he was like, well, however you want to do whatever over you want to do. And everyone's like, that's not helping like us. And everyone just felt like kind of like, stuck. Like, I mean, maybe that was the point. But still like,
I don't know.
I feel like, I don't know, a lot of people were like, almost, I don't know, felt like not many people put as much effort in as well.
yeah, I think that can seem sometimes like a paradox. But that actually like some structure allows for more flexibility, like having some sense of like, here's some options or ideas and then you have freedom within those ideas to innovate or change them. setting is important.
I do like the idea what Gary said though, like, here's a project but however you interpret it, go for it. Like
Yeah, I'm taking some serious notes over here because Chelsea's naming me without naming me I don't think that's what he's trying to do, but do fall in that trap sometimes.
I can't there's this there was a specific class that snapped iOS design live. It was where it was too much. Like we didn't have timeline, we didn't have a structure. It was kind of like, anytime you would ask like so do you mean this whenever you want to make it? Like,
I mean, that's cool because you're like, get your mind going, but also like I don't know, feels like you're like, what am I learning from you?
I feel like without much freedom, I would like, cause me to be stuck more than it would like me create more ideas. Like, I feel like when a little bit of structure, like I have no, like within a certain limit where I need to be, but like, I still have the option, or an opportunity, like being more outside of that, but like with, you just have no structure at all, like, you just like, go for it just, you know, pick whatever you want, just like I can pick Larry. a million things right now. So which one do I pick?
Yeah, I think the takeaway that I would say, maybe for every professor, anyone designing any course or doing this is, hey, you need to be more structured, and you need to be more flexible at the same time. Like, no matter where you're at right now, how do you make this a little bit more flexible? And a little bit more structured?
Yeah, like setting expectations, without being too rigid?
like, don't make it like, feel like, you know, how, like, Chelsea was saying, like, Oh, we got a we learn in this this week? are we learning this this week? Are we trying to say like, you know, just like, I feel like one of those situations where like, everything is just due every week, it just feel like, I don't return any of that information. Like it will literally just leave a post, like me having like the classes I was telling you about, it was a little more free. I'm thinking like, I can remember half of those assignments, as opposed to like, the classes I got now where I just got a topic this week. As of this weekend, I don't even remember what it's about. Yeah.
And that's interesting, because I could see, like, faculty are being like, okay, we're gonna focus this week on this thing. And that will, and thinking that that will make it clear. But actually, it's like, if things are the topics are maybe a little amorphous, and they inform each other and like, all semester, we're thinking about these five things, and we're going to see them interact, and think about them in different ways throughout the semester, that might stick with you more than like, Oh, yeah, all the way back in week two, we talked about that thing, but then we never talked about it again. And yeah, I don't remember that. So that's, that's really interesting. Like, I think that can also seem maybe like paradoxical, but actually, like, stick with you longer. Yeah. Well, Shannon,
any last questions that you have for Chelsea and Gary?
I don't think so. This was a really interesting conversation.
Thanks for your thoughts about this. Yeah,
guys. Thanks so much. I've got a lot of work to do is kind of what I'm pulling away from this. We'll see if we can do it. Well, Chelsea and Gary, thanks for joining us today and sharing some of your thoughts.