CBExchange 2017: Telling Your Quality Story (Qualitatively)

I often presented the successes of my institutions to people with no background in CBE or online. The challenge I found was to quickly generate interest before they engaged their defenses against the unfamiliar. As stated in the Innovator’s Toolkit, you have to reach both the emotional and the thinking parts of the brain1:

Psychologists have discovered that when these three parts are in conflict, the reptilian takes precedent over the other two. When there is a conflict between the emotional and intellectual parts, the emotional part wins over. This is why people often make poor, emotionally based decisions, then find an intellectual alibi to justify themselves.

If you don’t reach the emotional part of the brain, in an engaging,  friendly way, you lose any chance to make a positive, lasting point.

At CBExchange, Kelle Parsons2 and Alison Kadlec3 co-presented telling your institution’s story with emotional and cognitive impact using qualitative and quantitative evidence. As natural story tellers and receivers, people frame their information expectations in story format, and remember more fully.

Kadlec presented a framework for organizing an engaging, memorable story using the outline:

  • Character – make it personal
  • Circumstance – describe the context and conditions
  • Conflict – show what the character is facing in the circumstances
  • Resolution – present the solution and any call to action

Starting with data is mind-numbing, triggers the reptile, and only accessible if put into context. Weave the data into the context if appropriate to supporting the story. Speak from the specific story to the general conclusions.

In the next post I’ll report on Kelle Parson’s story telling with quantitative information. All posts on this conference are tagged CBExchange 2017.


  1. Silverstein, D., Samuel, P., & DeCarlo, N. (n.d.). Technique 1 – Jobs to be Done | The Innovator’s Toolkit. Retrieved September 22, 2017, from http://innovatorstoolkit.com/content/technique-1-jobs-be-done.
  2. Parsons, K. (2016, August 29). Biography. Retrieved September 22, 2017, from http://www.air.org/person/kelle-parsons
  3. Kadlec, A. (n.d.). Biography. Retrieved September 22, 2017, from https://www.publicagenda.org/pages/kadlec.
David Leasure

An innovator in online higher education, David Leasure has led online university programs, problem-based approaches to online learning, and competency-based education. He has served as provost at Western Governors University, Colorado Technical University and Jones International University. Leasure earned bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees in computer science and was associate professor of computer science at Texas A&M University Corpus Christi, where he turned his interests from artificial intelligence to teaching and learning with technology. Leasure led the creation of CTU Online, served as CTU’s doctoral chancellor, and president of Jones International University. His core belief is that all students can learn and his passion is helping them and their institutions succeed.