A possible course with more open inquiry even than project-based learning

I seek feedback on the idea of revising my project-based learning courses into something even more open to individualized inquiry. Following the lead of a friend, Mac Brown, I am thinking about a course in which students produce contributions to a book (or handbook) on the topic of the course in all its angles: what is known; how to gain knowledge – to move from a novice to someone with organized themes and examples; ways to pursue action, involving collaboration with various parties; lessons to teach or guide others; case studies or illustrations of themes; etc.
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“Changing Academic Life”: extracts from a nomination statement

[I didn’t receive the award, but it was helpful to assemble what I’ve done in relation to a possible path ahead.]
“Most workshops are dysfunctional—this one wasn’t!” read an evaluation from the first New England Workshop on Science and Social Change (NewSSC), a 4-day workshop I have organized since 2004 around issues ranging from ecological restoration to public involvement in environmental health.[2] “I now know 13 other people I can go to for advice, encouragement, teaching help, ideas, collaboration, anything,” one 2008 participant wrote in her evaluation. Read more of this post

Against plenary sessions

Listening to what is said in a plenary session is my least favorite aspect of a conference or workshop. In fact, let me assert that there should be no time spent in plenary sessions, only activities that elicit reflection, making of connections, and new insights. Logistics and other announcements could be made in written materials or only after sessions in which participants have first experienced “connecting, probing, reflecting” (CPR).
Some suggested CPR activities follow:
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ThinkTank, a day-and-half model (updated)

An update on an earlier blog post, composed to suggest a way that participants’ interests and energies could be engaged over the day and a half of a ThinkTank on topic X. That post was prepared after looking back at what happened (and didn’t) during a “thinktank” that went from evening of one day to lunchtime a day and a half later. This update follows a similar workshop of the same length and qualities (i.e., ample funding, a diverse group of inspiring participants brought together to move ideas into [further] action,…)
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Critical and Creative Thinking (CCT) at UMass Boston: Major developments since 2010

Critical thinking and creative thinking are defined or construed in many different ways; there is, moreover, no standard definition of what it means to combine the two pursuits. This has allowed the mission of the Graduate Program in Critical and Creative Thinking (CCT) at UMass Boston to grow and develop over nearly forty years in response to the personal interests and professional needs of the students in the Program and in response to the changing make-up and ongoing personal and professional engagements of the faculty. Historical background for the Program as a whole that conveys the flavor of CCT as an evolving entity is given in the Appendices. What follows are the major developments since the last AQUAD [7-year] review to set the scene for the current review.
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Why study fractions?

I googled the question “Why study fractions?” (for reasons I describe later) and found a study (reported in Swanbrow 2012) that invites critical thinking at two levels: 1) the assumptions, evidence, and reasoning warrant scrutiny; and 2) what is it that allows researchers and policy makers to proceed as if there are no alternative interpretations to be drawn from the study?
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What’s missing? Curiosity and a set of supports

A work-in-progress on what it means to foster curiosity in critical thinking, creative thinking, and studies of complex situations.
View these visual aids while listening to this 11.5 minute audio.
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