In-Person Learning in the Time of COVID

How We Are Challenging Our Community To Take Leaps & Seek Solutions

This week marked the beginning of a new school year. It will likely be one of the most unusual on record. But, as an entrepreneurship center that challenges people to leave their comfort zones, we’re doing our best to walk our talk and demonstrate adaptability to what the world is handing us right now.

It’s for this reason that we held our first design thinking workshop of the fall outside on a patio, which kicked off our Nice Leap Workshop series that is open to both campus and community. (Join us for future workshops!)   

A group of approximately 40 students, faculty, and community members joined us for the first workshop of our Nice Leap series, a program designed to support participants in discovering a project/idea they’ll build over the next 10 weeks.

Leading our first Nice Leap Launch workshop were two facilitators from Chicago-based education startup Experience Institute, creators of the framework we used to guide participants in identifying their “Leap.”

Leap: a specific, time-bound project designed to help you leave your comfort zone and learn something new.

We learn better together

Through a collaborative process of self-discovery each participant responded to a series of prompts that helped them clarify what they really care about. As students, community members, and faculty from all ages and backgrounds worked together they made note of:

  • Stories and media I am enjoying and sharing 
  • People I admire and respect 
  • Times I feel most in my element 
  • Things I wish were different in the world 
  • Things in the future I hope to know, feel, or do 

With sticky-notes, like clues, filling up their Leap Maps, participants gained a better understanding of the issues and areas of interest that might lead them to their Leap. Then, it was time to “Leap Storm” all of the possible projects or outcomes that they could create over the course of the next 10 weeks.

Leaps ranged from building out a framework for connecting high school students to the business community for job shadowing opportunities to starting a podcast that explores multiple perspectives on controversial topics.

After drafting initial Leap statements, we asked participants: Where do you hope to land? It’s important to be concrete and clear about what success will look like. This landing, as well as their reflection on the entire Leap process, will be presented by Leapers on November 19th at our Nice Leap Showcase.

Now that Leaps have been stated and shared, our Leapers move into the second stage of the Leap process: Prepare. During this stage they will conduct user research, engage and build a community of support, and further clarify what their “landing” will look like.

College is the best time to take a risk – you don’t have to wait

What about you? Do you have a Leap that you’ve been thinking about taking? We’re here to support you. If you’re a college student, we think that now is the best time to take a risk and go after an idea you are curious about. Or if you’re into your career, we know that your unique experiences have positioned you to make an impact on your section of the world. We want to see you step up and lead.


You’re not too late to join our community of Leapers. Our next Nice Leap Launch workshop (virtual edition) is taking place on Saturday, August 29th, 10am – noon.

Posted on August 26th, 2020 by Dane Johnson in Events, News and Stories