Fireside Stories is a documentation of the work which members of the Collective to Advance Multimodal Participatory Publishing (CAMPP) produced at the end of a three year cycle in the ASSETT Innovation Incubator at the University of Colorado, Boulder. CAMPP’s mission promoted faculty and student curation, cultivation, co-creation, and publication of knowledge. Under this umbrella, members developed and published various projects that meet academic standards and are open and accessible to the community at large. These audio recordings contain first hand accounts from CAMPP and its project partners about their experiences throughout this period of development.
In this episode, we will hear from Blair Young and Alexis Harris on their work throughout CAMPP, Collective to Advance Multimodal Participatory Publishing. Blair Young is ASSETT’s Innovation Catalyst. As the Catalyst, Blair guides the development of our emergent Innovation Incubator — a safe, resourced space where the College of Arts & Sciences community can grow their active learning ideas. Alexis Harris is currently a senior at CU Boulder. She is majoring in English Literature, while also getting a Secondary Education Licensure and a Minor in Creative Technology and Design. Alexis has been an intern with CAMPP since its inception.
This Episode's Hosts
Alexis Harris is currently a senior at CU Boulder. She is majoring in English Literature, while also getting a Secondary Education Licensure and a Minor in Creative Technology and Design. Alexis has been an intern with CAMPP since its inception.
0:00 Olivia: CAMPPFire Stories is a documentation of the work of members of the Collective to Advance Multimodal Participatory Publishing, or CAMPP, at the end of a three year incubation period at the University of Colorado Boulder. CAMPP’s mission promotes faculty and student curation, cultivation, co-creation, and publication of knowledge. Under this umbrella, members developed and published various projects that meet academic standards and are open and accessible to the community at large. These audio recordings contain first hand accounts from CAMPP and community members about their projects and their experiences throughout this period of development.
0:38 Catherine: In this episode, we will hear from Blair Young and Alexis Harris on Their work throughout CAMPP, Collective to Advance Multimodal Participatory Publishing. Blair Young is ASSETT’s Innovation Catalyst. As the Catalyst, Blair guides the development of our emergent Innovation Incubator — a safe, resourced space where the College of Arts & Sciences community can grow their active learning ideas. Alexis Harris is currently a senior at CU Boulder. She is majoring in English Literature, while also getting a Secondary Education Licensure and a Minor in Creative Technology and Design. Alexis has been an intern with CAMPP since its inception.
1:23 Catherine: Okay well first question, pretty straightforward, how did CAMPP begin for you?
1:28 Alexis: So this is kind of a funny story, is that I heard about CAMPP through my scholarship program and I applied immediately because I was really interested in the whole idea behind CAMPP, but I applied immediately after and what ended up happening was Blair reached out and said I saw your application there's actually something else going on in the summer that's similar that we would love for you to work on if you want to interview for that instead. So I ended up interviewing for a different job than CAMPP and worked on that over the summer and then after that summer I loved working so much that I asked if I could still do the CAMPP project and Blair said yes, and so I actually I did a different job before CAMPP but I applied for CAMPP originally. It's kind of a roundabout thing but I'm really happy that I ended up getting to be a part of the community.
2:33 Blair: This is Blair and I, just before I share about how CAMPP began for me I just want to say how glad I am Alexis that in that roundabout way you joined the CAMPP team. CAMPP actually began for me in a little bit of a roundabout way too, I was a graduate research assistant for ASSETT which is the department that houses the CAMPP project and the innovation incubator, and I had gone back to, I say it's my midlife crisis, I'd gone back to graduate school at the age of forty three at the Atlas Institute at CU Boulder and was hired at, as hired as a graduate research assistant at ASSETT by Amanda McAndrew who's part of the CAMPP team and the incubator which houses CAMPP started to become an idea while I was a graduate research assistant. It just happened that I had a work history and skill set that fit really well for stepping in to pilot the innovation incubator and so I really started working on this project as a graduate research assistant and then when I graduated the timing worked out really well right as the incubator was was becoming really like an officially adopted project of ASSETT so I was there for the formation of the four teams, one of which is CAMPP, was able to help with the review process of the proposals that we received from faculty across the College of Arts and Sciences and really got to be part of supporting the CAMPP team as they assembled themselves in the early stages and started to imagine themselves and define themselves as a collaborative that was focused on multimodal participatory publishing, publishing projects via relationships between faculty and undergraduate students. So that was exciting, it's really cool to have been there from inception and I've learned so much from being part of the team as an outside facilitator.
4:52 Catherine: Yeah so neither of you are I guess typical CAMPP members, but when you set off what were you expecting? Like what did you think you were going to gain from this?
5:09 Alexis: So I'll start. When I saw the call like I said I was really excited because I knew that a lot of my skill sets in terms of art in terms of like publishing and there was something mentioned about making education more accessible when the job posting was put out, which, I am a student teacher right now so that was also really interesting to me. So it felt like a really cool intersection of my graphic design and web design work that I do and also the education side of my degree where I teach high school, so I was expecting in some way to use all parts of my degree. I wasn't exactly sure what to expect from there, the funny thing was that I knew that I would be working with faculty directly but I was also terrified of working with faculty directly my freshman year especially and going into my sophomore, junior year even, I had always had this weird sense of being scared of faculty, even with my own professors going to things like office hours felt really daunting to me just because I think when you, especially from a student perspective, when you're thinking about professors you kind of, or other faculty, you place them in this pedestal of being all knowing and like just the pinnacle of education that you're in. So thinking about working with faculty I was so scared to be the student in that situation working directly for them, so coming from the perspective of going into this I was really scared but the way that my perspective changed throughout this experience is really telling from that story just because I love working with faculty now and I'm no longer scared to go to office hours. I think being in this position as a student really makes you realize that you still have things to contribute even though you're placed as that student role, so it was really cool like demystifying what being a faculty member is like and getting to be placed on equal and level playing field with the rest of the CAMPP faculty.
7:47 Blair: I might start to answer this question more in terms of what I wasn't expecting and what happened you know after all but I'll try not to do that and and I'll start by saying you know with the inception of the incubator again which houses the CAMPP team which is one of four interdisciplinary teams of faculty, staff, and students who are part of this pilot, you know, it kicked off as a very non traditional project and therefore there, you know, there were skeptics even though you know we had people show up and did our best to communicate what a non traditional process this would be with lots of unexpected you know potentially unexpected pivots. You know, there were skeptics in the room, so you know one of the things I was planning on or expecting was probably a little more turbulence than we actually had you know and I would attribute that to some degree to this team's process as I mentioned earlier identifying and defining themselves as a collaborative. So we have other teams that came in with you know a really clear unifying sort of trajectory, this team was one of you know of the four that came in with you know a thread that tied them all together but I think had to work a little bit harder to really identify a theme or something that really united them. And again the identifying and defining themselves as a collaborative really helped to solidify that and you know very much to cause them to circle up and support one another specifically on the focus of developing open educational resources and specifically in the the even, I guess, through the varied ways that they partnered with students either in their courses or the students like Alexis and you Catherine who came in as interns on really focus components of their projects, specifically like technological components, online platforms where work was being published, so I'm happy to say that there was less turbulence than I had expected in that regard. And then there were the unexpected things where there was plenty of turbulence, for example the pandemic you know that we didn't, I think, maybe I don't know four months into officially stepping into this position and partnering with my staff colleagues to facilitate each of the four teams Amanda McAndrew being the staff colleague who's co facilitating CAMPP with me, we you know we had to pivot pretty dramatically as everyone did once the pandemic arrived, and that's sort of that really roundabout way that Alexis ultimately joined the team. Alexis worked on a student project focused on bringing students together and you know ways to connect early on in the pandemic using technological tools, so that was one thing that was really unexpected and this storycorps project, the recordings that we're making right now was you know something that really developed organically over the process of the last three years. There were a lot of things that we couldn't foresee as each of the teams and specifically as CAMPP developed their identity, moved their individual projects forward and also worked together to inform and strengthen each of their individual projects, so again an exciting place to land in this very recording that we're doing right now.
12:04 Catherine: Was there a destination for either of you when you set out, and if so, is that the same now?
12:12 Alexis: I think for me maybe the destination for the work that I was hired on to do remained the same. I knew that I was going to be working with faculty members and I knew that I was going to be setting out to help them make their work more accessible in ways that it would be like publicly accessible, so that goal of the project didn't change. I would say what did change in terms of my personal destination, I actually started out knowing that I wanted to be a teacher and I was very english and education oriented because those are the main parts of my degree, but after this experience my own destination has changed I think in that I have become really interested in web design and that, I think if you would have told me freshman year that I was going to be designing websites I probably would have laughed because I didn't know anything about coding, I didn't know anything about the way that design or development works, but throughout the project and throughout getting to meet with faculty members to try to figure out the ways that we would publish these things I ended up getting really integrated into the world of web development and into the world of coding and so that actually became like one of my main focuses and that changed my degree path a little bit. So I've taken a lot of classes since then on web development, I'm so interested in that and from there it's really cool getting to see kind of the echoes of this project just in my own life because I know that I want to integrate web development and coding into my english classes that I'll be teaching. I'm planning some lessons where students kind of work on creating a website for the characters that they're reading in their books and things like that so it's really had this like far reaching effect that I didn't have an idea would happen when I first started this project. And I think even beyond just like using web development in the classroom I have been able to start thinking about if I wanted to do stuff like freelance design or just building out my own portfolio. This project has given me the opportunity to explore things out of the bounds of what I thought I was going to do with my degree, which is really cool, so yes it changed the destination but personally for me I think for the project the through line has always stayed the same.
15:06 Blair: So for me I had to come into this, I'm always gonna frame this to some degree within the larger pilot, the innovation incubator, and then specifically to CAMPP. And with the larger pilot I had to come in with to some degree no expectations I would say because you know it was again non traditional, fairly experimental, and to a degree I felt like my role was to be like the person who could hold all the uncertainty. And that was my job that's a big part of my job so and at the same time I would say of course in my heart I really wanted all of the teams including the CAMPP team to you know at the “end point” in quotes to feel like they were part of something that was successful. And you know success can have a you know really broad definition, I think probably each person on the team might define what a successful project or successful experience is for them differently than the person standing next to them. In this moment the way that I would describe success in terms of like my own expectations for success is that everyone involved feels like they grew, and they grew in a way that you know like in some ways the what Alexis was just saying, like it sort of expanded her own idea of what's possible for her and you know to me that like as Alexis was talking it was like that feels like success to me, like Alexis sees all the possibilities you know for herself. And I would say the same for the faculty who were, who are participating in CAMPP, success you know also feels like we ran up against challenges and you know figured out a way to tackle them together, and I will say you know again that having student interns on the team was a really key part of that success and tackling challenges specifically in bringing. This is, we're in sort of our second year of having student interns and Alexis has stayed on for a second year, we had two other interns last year, but bringing the technical expertise or even just the new or different way of looking at something that a student brings to a project, to say like, “let's try it this way,” you know, a faculty member that I'm partnering with you know those relationships and that fresh perspective that burbles up out of those relationships also feels like success for me. So in that regard you know my expectations of success I feel like are different, became defined through the process and at this moment in time you know I feel, I feel really good about where we are.
18:25 Catherine: What's it been like collaborating together the last few years, especially on a team that includes undergrads, faculty, grad students, and administrators?
18:35 Alexis: I think I talked a little, I've talked a little bit about this in some of my other answers but, and so has Blair, kind of touching on the fact that having different perspectives from different sides in different like positionalities within the college has been really cool, because I feel like it's pushed programs and pushed projects into a different direction than we had thought just because of the different minds that have been on the project. I think getting to see like how students and how faculty and even like grad students, how we can all come together to make this really cool product has been really rewarding. I think out for a lot of us like especially undergrads college becomes sort of, you go to class, you get the knowledge, and then you leave and do your own thing, but I feel like this experience has shown how integrating student voices can be really successful for faculty members, but also how that can be really successful for the students themselves. In that like, like I said I got to try things that I had never tried before and I got to explore past my degree and I think it made my college experience much richer than it might have been if I had just been following my course before then which was yes, just going to class, getting the knowledge, and then leaving. So I feel like I don't, I think just having students working on faculty projects ultimately just rounds out the experience, from the student perspective.
20:28 Blair: One of the things that I've really appreciated about specifically being part of the CAMPP team as a facilitator who isn't necessarily like right in there, hands in the work and in the projects the way Alexis has with a faculty, is like a, it's like a little petri dish where we've been able to experiment with what it actually looks like to start to break down barriers in learning, teaching and learning, between and among faculty and students. I think that the, definitely the pandemic has shown us that there's lots of different ways to do teaching and learning and higher education, and maybe that accelerated and definitely imprinted on the way faculty, staff, and students have collaborated through CAMPP, but like in this little petri dish again when I think about you know the sort of evolving definition of success that I was talking about earlier, like we've definitely seen and proven that we can be successful in cultivating meaningful publishing partnerships and knowledge creation partnerships across the faculty and student and even again staff relationship. And so again as Alexis is saying, like it's a different way of doing teaching and learning, it's not sort of the typical path that a student expects to step into and you know definitely not the always the typical path that a faculty member anticipates you know teaching in or you know the kind of environment they anticipate teaching in, although we do have you know volunteers we you know the faculty that are in CAMPP came ready to do something differently or were already you know doing something differently and experimenting in their courses and their course design. So again to just sort of circle back to this idea of a petri dish that I like that we have this snapshot of experience that says like yes, we can do it this way, and we can create an environment where meaningful, really meaningful, learning and growth can happen for everyone and more of a partnership, you know, style of learning.
23:05 Catherine: What's been a highlight of CAMPP?
23:08 Alexis: I really do believe that the best part and the highlight for me has been working on BuffsCreate, mostly because I believe so strongly in its mission. So for anyone who's listening that doesn't know what BuffsCreate is, BuffsCreate is a project run through Domain of One's Own and it's all centered around students taking control of their digital identity in the midst of things that might be controlling it, for example Instagram or Facebook, that it really gives you the opportunity to take control of your data and choose what you decide to put out there. It does that by allowing students to make their own websites and control what they're doing that way. So I think working on BuffsCreate has been really amazing for me just because I've gotten to learn the ins and outs of web design myself and then thought about ways that that could be marketed to students so that they can also experience the really cool benefits that comes with creating on BuffsCreate, creating a website and taking control of your digital identity. I also just think it's really cool to have a platform like BuffsCreate which allows CU students to find ways to publish their work for free, and a lot of the faculty members ended up using BuffsCreate to publish their work and make that more accessible so it's really just a cool platform. At the end of the day I think being a teacher, one of the biggest goals of my life is to just like share learning and I feel like BuffsCreate with the way that it allows you to create your own website and share the information that you have, it just makes it really accessible for faculty, it makes it really accessible for students to share what they've learned. I think one of my favorite quotes from Bill Nye the Science Guy is, “Everyone you will ever meet knows something that you don't,” and I think just like working on BuffsCreate allows you to see sort of into the lives of students, into the lives of faculty members, and really get a chance to see what they know that you don't. So I think, I don't know I might be rambling a little bit and fangirling a little bit about BuffsCreate but that's a project that I've really enjoyed working on, in addition to all of the amazing faculty members that I've gotten to work with.
25:48 Blair: I love that answer Alexis. For me with CAMPP a highlight to a degree is a quality and the quality of flexibility and responsiveness that you know defines the experience. For me again because I haven't had my hands directly in any one project, I'm very much on the margins and I don't say on the margins, I don't use that like in a negative way, but just you know on the margins being able to do a lot of observation, and based on that observation design the way that I facilitate or co facilitate CAMPP and being able to be really, really responsive to the cues that you know are coming from team members as individuals or from the team as a whole has been a highlight for me. That's a way I really, I really like to work that way and again it feels like a really appropriate way to work in the petri dish that I described earlier, so that's a specific highlight for me. Recently we had one of the team members, Suzanne Magnanini who's working on the fairy tale archive project with several students largely who were funded by a UROP grant said you know that she really, you know one of the things she's working to do is provide some portable tools and skill sets for the students that are working on that project and Suzanne approached me and asked if we could do a basically like a pitch development workshop and a little you know a mini pitch event with the students, and this is something you know that I have templated but can modify depending on the needs of the group. And so there's then this kind of like leveling up or leveling down of of responsiveness and like okay what is this group of students, and faculty because Suzanne and another faculty member are also participating in the workshop alongside the students, so how how do I respond specifically to the needs of the group of people in the in the room but also the project itself, like the nuances of a fairy tale archive. And so from the standpoint of design and facilitation and flexibility and responsiveness that's something we're in right now and is just a really fun way for me to have my own little hands on project that can make a very distinct contribution to CAMPP whereas up until this point well I would say we'll actually even scale together the project that initially brought Alexis in, I think I kind of helped put the talent into place, meaning Alexis and the other two student interns who worked on that, but then they really ran with it was that was not my project, but this is like a really a highlight for me to be able to say like this is a tangible contribution that I can make to CAMPP as opposed to being someone who's just sort of like wrapping their arms around and holding the holding the wheels on over this three year ride.
29:22 Catherine: Okay in the interest of time we only have one question left, so where is your endpoint right now, and where will the journey take you next?
29:30 Alexis: So I think I've touched on this a couple times but I am going to be a teacher myself in the next year, I'm finishing my student teaching at the same time that I've been working on this CAMPP project so it's actually been kind of cool for me to see the changes that the faculty make in their own classrooms because then I can take inspiration. In addition to learning web development, in addition to learning more about open education, I think I have gotten to learn from the faculty members’ just like teaching practices so I think going forward, while I will be integrating some web development into my classes, I’ll also just be integrating ways for students to participate in their learning, I think that's a big takeaway from the CAMPP project is trying to allow for student engagement in projects. Not even in just the CAMPP project in my role as an intern, but with the individual faculty members a lot of them are having students contribute to this open resource or contribute to the class' resources of knowledge so I think that's been a really big takeaway for me is that my future students I really hope that I can replicate some of the work that the faculty members have created in their class archives and their collaborative projects. I just think it's really cool seeing how education can change when you have that mutual building instead of just the teachers bestowing knowledge onto empty containers, it's really, like, students come in with their own funds of knowledge and they get to bring that to the project and it's not just the teacher in the sort of form of the boss, I guess. I just want to bring that into my future classrooms and I think CAMPP has been a really cool experience for me to see how that might work.
31:45 Blair: I'm gonna start my answer to this question by adding what I think is a pretty important detail to my last answer where I was talking about the pitch workshop for the fairy tale archive and that's specifically developing a pitch about the fairy tale archive project. And so that you know students and, the students and the faculty working on that project have a way to release succinctly and persuasively share about the project, and you know that leads into, what's the endpoint, and sort of where do I see this, you know, where do I see myself going with this. I mean one of the things that I'm charged within my position is ensuring sustainability of projects, you know, proven projects and using Suzanne's fairy tale archive as a specific example, you know there's a long runway for that project. I mean they really want to see that fairy tale archive made open to you know any number of courses in the College of Arts and Sciences at CU Boulder, there's a whole variety of ways that the fairy tale translations house in the archive can be integrated into courses, as well as making that a public resource that could be used in k-12 schools in our area. So you know they're going to need resources, human and funding resources, to you know bring the vision that they have for the long life of the archive to fruition. So there is you know there is a portable skill for students that comes from that pitch workshop, but then there's also this very practical application of seeking additional support, long term support, once this instance which is wrapping soon, this first three year instance of the pilot, the incubator pilot wraps in May of this year. So that's again a really specific way of talking about the quote unquote endpoint and the future for me with CAMPP is you know with anyone from the CAMPP team who comes to me and says can we work with you to think about sustainability for the project, whether that's through human resources, whether that's through some institutional support, whether that's through finding you know a home for the project, funding for the project, that's where I am now and that's where I see myself in the foreseeable future. And I would say the same goes for the conversation, the larger conversation, that this collective has carried throughout the three years specifically around OER creation in partnership with students, how do we continue that conversation in a really meaningful and purposeful way on our campus.
34:51 Catherine: All right, any final thoughts?
34:56 Alexis: I don't think so, I think I'm just happy I got this experience. CAMPP will always hold a special place in my heart, in my history in university, so it's been really cool to be part of this project.
35:10 Blair: Likewise and I’ll just add that I want to just thank both of you for being part of CAMPP and bringing your student perspective and being, I don't really want to use the word brave, that's not the word, but Alexis when you were saying earlier like it feels a little scary to work with faculty, to just like take a deep breath and jump in with both feet and remember that faculty are human and work alongside them. You really model that for both faculty and students through your participation on CAMPP. Thank you for that.
35:44 Alexis: Thank you Blair
35:46 Catherine: Thank you Blair and thank you Alexis and thank you, both of you, for coming and doing this.
- A Buff's Life Podcast Series
- EMERGE Podcast Series
- Fireside Stories Podcast Series
- Fireside Stories Ep. 1: Suzanne Magnanini and Nikki Jobin
- Fireside Stories Ep. 2: Rachael Deagman Simonetta and Melanie Lo
- Fireside Stories Ep. 3: Jay Ellis and Charlotte Whitney
- Fireside Stories Ep. 4: Blair Young and Alexis Harris
- Fireside Stories Ep. 5: Amanda McAndrew and Sara Myers
- Fireside Stories Episode 6: Amanda McAndrew and Caroline Sinkinson
- Overloaded Podcast Series
- Pedgogy Now! Podcast Series
- Student Tech Share Podcast Series