Since I wasn’t sure if the assigned reading for this week was the entirety of the June 2009 issue of Academic Commons or just one or two articles, I got lost in time and perused them all. For years I thought peruse meant to leisurely browse, but then I learned it means to read deeply or scrutinize. I still think of the word peruse in a playful way.
These articles seemed to reinforce many of the ideas we talked about last semester, and continue to discuss in the current ITP term. One of the main framing points for these papers is that in the current era students need to practice analysis of material not content regurgitation (Wesch, 2009).
Each article is quite rich so I’ll just pull a few of the parts that struck me and maybe people can add their perspectives on what they found most intriguing, whether from my post or otherwise.
In one piece Davidson says “The whole system of credentialing, grading, evaluating, writing recommendations, all of that, is antithetical to true participatory learning formats and learning communities. Higher education has never figured out if its primary goal is learning or if its primary goal is training citizens for elite positions of class power and leadership. The whole system of ranking (among institutions and among students) is based on “distinctions,” as Bourdieu would say. Participatory learning, especially when it is anonymous, contests the bases and even the sanctity of many of those distinctions”.
I’m puzzled; Higher ed is both, is neither, is both but shouldn’t be either? Agree, disagree?
The Yancey article on E-portfolios was intriguing and is perhaps especially relevant to Humanities or creative writing and digital art programs. I wonder how relevant an e-portfolio is for social science or hard science students? I guess this comes down to the question of what is valued. In my field, psych, the value seems to be placed on tight impersonal writing. I wonder what a student would gain by developing an E-portfolio of their research reports. Okay they would gain knowledge about digital tools, but how does this help them if their goal is to be a biologist? Wouldn’t their time be best spent crafting their writing and reading about their content area?
If pressed, I might say that one activity for a psych student could be to do a ds106 type creation of their research project. Perhaps film the data collection, a few interview clips, and then share this. As an instructor I would be a little concerned about the department giving me a hard time for having undergrads film their participants and not following all of the necessary ethical procedures for recruitment. I guess that would push me to be better versed on these procedures, so it could be a good thing.
Finally, I find assessment is one of the most challenging parts of teaching a course. I use a research paper rubric and a presentation rubric. Even with a rubric I find it really challenging to grade student presentations. Perhaps it comes from an inner contradiction about who I am as an instructor; I want my students to work hard and earn their grades. But how do I measure ‘hard work’. I don’t want to be a dream crusher nor do I want to be a pushover, and striking the balance is a great challenge. I like what Rhodes is doing in creating a broad interdisciplinary rubric. One shortcoming of the Rhodes rubric is there is no section for basic writing mechanics.
Any interesting ideas for integrating digital assignments into the courses you teach or participate in? Any assessment ideas? Other thoughts?