Some people have such an innate understanding of a subject that being in their very presence makes you feel like you’re learning something, almost through osmosis. Udacity Instructor, Melissa Hui, is one of those people. Talking to her is a revelation. Melissa is the founder and principal of Context Leap, an agency specializing in employing human-centered design to help organizations manage culture transformation, empower leadership, and discover how to work in more productive, creative, and innovative ways.
Melissa came by her current position by way of her fervent belief that everything can be designed. “There are a lot of really interesting concepts in design that we can apply to the ways we work,” explains Melissa, “and so I started doing a lot of experiments and prototyping with different ideas and eventually decided I was going to leave my former design agency and just strike out on my own!”
Melissa’s spirit and sense of innovation helped forge the path, and she threw herself headfirst into her new creative endeavor. Melissa embodies the entrepreneurial spirit saying, “I like the thrill of creating something new, the thrill of the potential risk that comes with it. But I think that’s normal, you begin to live with fear but with excitement as well! You ride the edge between two different emotions at once.”
Her agency, Context Leap, is a reflection of Melissa—taking a very creative, empathetic, and open approach to what many see as binary business problems. It works with organizations to expand their focus and transform the way they work so they recognize people, sustainability, and the environment without losing focus on the bottom line.
Teaching at Udacity
This creative approach to problem-solving helped Melissa build the User Design Capstone Project that students complete during the UX Designer Nanodegree program.
“My background really helped with the design of the project,” she says. “I think when you have a creative perspective on things, you begin with a process—a structure—but within that, you also let yourself truly, freely explore the concept. And Udacity helped tremendously with that. There was a very rich ideation process because we had to make it valuable and interesting to the students. So we had an interesting mix of convergence and divergence between creative processes and a very methodical planning process, which allowed us to translate concepts into something tangible to better enrich students’ learning journeys!”
This iterative, collaborative process is something that Udacity takes very seriously. The first steps in creating great teaching content are the hardest, so Udacity provides support throughout the curriculum building process in the form of Curriculum Managers (or CM’s) to help tangible embryonic ideas and give them concrete form.
“For me, having a very strong CM say, ‘Okay, here’s what we need to accomplish, here are the tools and templates we have at Udacity, here’s where you get to be really creative and put your own spin on things,’ led to a lot of really amazing back and forth collaborations. We would jump on a call to talk about something really fast. We would also play with ideas and share things out just to clarify thoughts. Then we’d take those clarifications back to the greater team. There was a very dynamic ebb and flow to the whole process, and Udacity’s teams are very comfortable with that.”
In addition to the process, Melissa enjoyed the additional reach Udacity could provide. “Working with Udacity, you’re ultimately at a place where your content has greater reach, is more dynamic, and has a broader scope. It just feels like a more expansive experience as opposed to the very linear traditional experience with education. And that’s really exciting for me. I’ve never had that experience before!”
How to Get Involved
If any of this resonates with your personal goals or ideals and you would like to create a course with Udacity, please get in touch. We’re always looking for instructors like Melissa who have a unique take on life and work. You’ll help students, build your brand, and, of course, be financially compensated for your time.