McDonald Family

1. Where are you from? 
Provo, UT. I grew up just a few blocks from BYU and spent a lot of my childhood on campus. 


2. What and where have you studied? 
I have a bachelor’s degree in sociology, and an MS and PhD in instructional psychology and technology. All of my degrees are from BYU. 


3. Where have you previously worked? 
After grad school I worked at Church Headquarters in Salt Lake City. I worked in instructional media development, curriculum development, film production, and exhibit development (Church museums and historical sites). I also worked for a couple of years as the Director of Digital Products for Deseret Book. I came back to BYU in 2016 and have been teaching here ever since.  


4. What is your current job title? Please describe what you do in that position. 
My title is teaching professor. I teach classes in the Department of Instructional Psychology and Technology (instructional design, learning theory, project management, etc.). I’m also currently the program coordinator of the design thinking minor (a cross college program emphasizing skills of interdisciplinary collaboration, methods for understanding people and the messy problems they face, and creative problem solving). Most teaching professors don’t do research, but my contract actually includes a research component. Right now I’m studying the instrumentalist and calculative tendencies of contemporary education, particularly as seen in online learning and other educational technologies. By this I mean trends that prioritize the technical values of efficiency, optimization, quantification, standardization, and interchangeability, and those, in large measure, are the reasons why so much education is dull, uninspiring, rigid, and inflexible. 


5. Why did you choose to work at BYU? 
I love BYU students. They’re amazing and unlike students anywhere else. The chance to spend the rest of my career working with BYU students was in every sense a dream come true. 


6. What do you regret not starting or doing when you were younger? 
Learning to play the guitar. I started a couple of years ago and love it. But I also have arthritis in my hands now, so my fingers and hands aren’t as flexible as they were when I was young. 


7. Do you collect anything? 
I probably collect the weirdest thing imaginable. I collect Bible translations and Bible editions. One of the prizes of my collection is the Oxford edition of the Washburn College Bible, a heavy-duty, massive book meant for preachers to use over the pulpit. 


8. If your entire life was a movie, what would the title be? 
90 Minutes Where Nothing Happens 


9. If you could only eat one type of food for the rest of your life, what would it be? 
I kind of do that right now. I love oatmeal. I eat it practically every morning for breakfast. Sometimes for lunch and dinner, too. Put a few berries in it and a little almond milk and it’s amazing. 


10. What weird food combinations do you really enjoy? 
Start with a piece of toast. Spread on a layer of mayo. Put two hot dogs on top. Cut it in half lengthwise. Then add mashed potatoes. Top with shredded cheese. 


11. Where is your favorite place to go on vacation? 
Disneyland. I know that everything there is perfectly designed to take my money. There’s nothing authentic about it—every emotion is completely manufactured. But I still dig it. 


12. What movie quotes do you use on a regular basis? 
“Excuse me, I’d like to get by now.” 
“I made a promise, Mr. Frodo, a promise.” 
“Look at me. I’m the captain now.”