In this episode, we had the pleasure of talking with Jesse Stommel. Jesse talks to us about how a learner-centered space truly needs to start with the student. Teachers shouldn’t over-architecture the curriculum by predetermining learning outcomes, assessments, or measurement criteria. Instead, start with, “Hello. How are you?” and mean it! Truly get to know your students, what their goals are, and what success looks like to them.

Jesse also recommended that we learn from Sara Goldrick-Rab. She has written and spoken about how important it is to realize that “basic needs are pedagogical needs. Read more from Jesse and Sara in their article, Teaching the Students We Have, Not the Students We Wish We Had. Additional sources of inspiration include Alfie Kohn, Bell Hooks, and Paolo Frieri.

Listen to the episode on Apple Podcasts or Spotify.

More about Jesse

Jesse is currently a faculty member in the Writing Program at University of Denver. He is also co-founder of Hybrid Pedagogy: the journal of critical digital pedagogy and Digital Pedagogy Lab (2015-2021). He has a PhD from University of Colorado Boulder. He is co-author of An Urgency of Teachers: the Work of Critical Digital Pedagogy.

Jesse is a documentary filmmaker and teaches courses about pedagogy, film, digital studies, and composition. Jesse experiments relentlessly with learning interfaces, both digital and analog, and his research focuses on higher education pedagogy, critical digital pedagogy, and assessment. He’s got a rascal pup, Emily, a clever cat, Loki, and a badass daughter, Hazel. He’s online at and

Learner-Centered Spaces is a proud member of the Teach Better Network.

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