26 October 2012

Where is the Empathy in Design, Blackboard?

Reflecting on an experience at the welfare office, Mica at REBOOT asked where the humanity in the space was. The layout of the office, the color of the walls, the furniture were functional yet uncaring.

He offered: May Efficient Never Replace Human

Just about every day, I spend time working in Blackboard. It's the space millions of Americans experience education in.

It's industrial. It's aesthetically and functionally anachronistic.

It depersonalizes an already difficult to personalize experience -- online education.

And I'm designing with it, not learning in it. Still, as a designer it's not good. I'm trying to design good online learning. I'm also helping teachers to do that, teachers who are passionate about their students and teaching and learning. So when I say things like, "well...Blackboard doesn't do that very well" or "nah....you just don't want to go there, it'll take you take you hours, not worth the trouble." I see the enthusiasm slowly drip out of their smiles.

A piece of my heart aches.