A little backstory, context and some useful things to know.
I’m Dr Stephen Dann, writer, marketer, online presence and social media entity. I’ve worked for the university sector since 1997, been part of the startup scene before it was a scene (2002-2004), and variously written, authored and consulted my way through quite a long period of time. It’s been technically possible for me to teach an undergraduate student who’s parents were in my class since 2016. With that in mind, I’m often seen as the Old Man of the sector, having been around for the foundation of key organisations (ANZMAC, AASM), and being able to talk shop about the pre-internet, pre-powerpoint teaching days.
The old days were a bit rubbish, and the present is much better, and the future even more so. I’ve lived through the 1970s, and they were overrated, enjoyed the 1980s much more now it’s keyword searchable on the internet. Some of those cartoons were better than I remembered, and some of them so much worse, I wish I hadn’t remember enough keywords to find them.
I spend most of the 1990s in study, and am catching up on a lot of the stuff I missed because I was at home working on assignments or a thesis. I opened my academic international notoriety in 1998 by presenting research into using Princess Diana’s image in road safety seatbelt campaigns in London, on the one year anniversary of her death, at a conference dedicated to her memory. That sort of set the tone for my career. Tone deaf and loud, like the WWE Undertaker’s bell ring.
By the 2000s, the internet had gone from something I had to explain as to what it is, and why you’d want to be on it, to something that I taught as just another thing in my day job. In the 2000s, I left academia, worked as a product designer for sports ratings start up, helped accidentally uncover certain irregularities in sponsorship and corporate hospitality prices that, indirectly, help point attention at a sporting team that was done for one of the biggest payment scandals in that sport’s history. Consequently, nobody talked to our startup, and I went back to academia in 2005, moving from QLD where I’d always lived to Canberra in 2006 where I’ve worked ever since. On returning to the academy, I was nominated as a Senior Thought Leader in my discipline in 2008, and wwas held in the same esteem as the founders of my subdiscipline area of social marketing (marketing of social change).
In the 2010s, I managed to bank three teaching awards (college, university, international), I wrote my last textbook, and scored several A and one A* ranked publications. I trained in the Lego Serious Play methodology at Legoland Windsor (UK) in 2016 and have run over 200 sessions with events in the UK, New Zealand, Australia and Canada until it all sort of went on pause in 2020. As a summer loving, heat appreciating born and bred Queenslander, I proceeded to spend six months in Canada in 2017, during winter, in one of their worst cold snaps in ages. Since then, I went back to Lethbridge in Fall, over several years, to run Lego Serious Play workshops and partner with the ULeth Agility Entrepreneurship Program.
As the 2020s kicked off, I was scheduled for long service leave from July to December 2020. When the plague hit, and we were moved to emergency online teaching, my course was already online, with full pre-recorded lectures, and a quick pivot to online tutorial by discussion forum. We even managed a few mixed mode broadcast tutorials before campus shut. I swapped out my long service leave for an opportunity to go online by design, taking eMarketing as a full digital delivery mode for the first time in my entire career (despite asking for online delivery since 1998). I was in my absolute element, banking another teaching award, and the highest student satisfaction score in my career – across the three subjects where I was involved electronically. I wrote two guides for Online By Design, and brought nearly 20 years of online experience into the virtual class environment.
So here’s to every dean, head of school and vice chancellor who’d previously told me to stop doing online deliverables in my classes. It turned out okay for me in the interim.
So for 2021, I’m kicking it off with six months long service leave, and then we’ll see where things go from there.
Couple of Other Notes of Note
Diet Requirements: Feeding me without resulting in me being rather unwell is complicated. Here’s a few ways to ensure that I get out of lunch alive. Seriously, I’ve lived with near-fatal food allergy risks since I was 15, and I’ve become accustomed to the realisation that one day, one mistake, and it’s the last mistake I get to make in a glorious career of deliberates, near misses and forced errors.
About the ($) logo: I’ve been using the ($) motif in various forms since 1992, and it’s been through a few logo designs. I quite like using it as a placeholder instead of my photo, in no small part because I’ve been more easily recognised with my logo than with my face.
My other two main sites