All this domain stuff can be overwhelming.

That is natural. It is new. But this is the idea of extending ourselves, growing by doing things we may think we cannot do, or is beyond us. We expect this of our students, why not ourselves?

History professor Jeff McClurken teachers with a strategy that he wants his students to be “uncomfortable but not paralyzed”

I explained that I wanted them to be uncertain, that I wanted them to be shaken out of their normal writing and researching experience, that it was in those conditions that they were most likely to learn. However, I explained that I wanted them to not be so overwhelmed that they felt like they couldn’t do anything. I told them I wanted them to be “uncomfortable, but not paralyzed.” It sounded funny after I said it (no faculty quote t-shirts, please) but it’s a good summary of the environment I hope to create in this class. [Though comfortable is the ultimate goal.]

We encourage you not to be so overwhelmed that you are paralyzed. When you find yourself lost, or confused, or have spent already maybe 15 minutes trying to figure out a blog feature or a web tool, here is what you should do.


And then ask for help.


First of all, you need to be able to say more than, “It’s broken” or “This does not work”. Be ready to explain, briefly, what you are trying to do, the steps you took, and any results like error messages. Screen shots help.

Where/how to get help?

  • Ask on twitter. We connect there not just to share, but to help each other out. Send a call for help and include our #oextend hashtag.
  • Write a blog post If it is hard to explain in 140 characters (and it usually is), explain more, with screenshots or links, in your blog – then tweet out that link. When you get answers (notice we said “when”), add them to your post. This might help someone else in the future, and that person may be you.
  • Email Us Contact us here

Remember that uncomfortable is okay, expected. Just do not get paralyzed.

Featured Image: Really Annoying flickr photo by 藍川芥 aikawake shared under a Creative Commons (BY-NC-ND) license

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