Comment on Conceptual Frameworks: some thoughts by Gardo

@Steve: Yes, we do need to explain, but our actions speak far more loudly than our words. When we turn general education into FTE horse trading, specify “student success” as “graduating more students” with no clear, powerful, liberatory, complex, or consistent idea of what a degree or college education or even learning is, then our explanations, like a row of near-identical mission statements and strategic plans, will sound hollow. To be clear, I mean the blame for questions about word count to fall primarily at the feet of educators, not of students.

@Samantha I agree that our conceptual frameworks must be co-created; we must always ask our students “what do you think this [assignment, course, degree, etc.] is for? What good does it serve? Whose good does it serve?” To clarify, I wasn’t trying to equate conceptual frameworks with systems–in truth, I was trying to oppose those two things, and to lament that conceptual frameworks that connect ideas are all too often turned into systems and methodologies that are nearly idea-free, constricting, and finally betray the very ideals they profess. As for structure, in my view some is always needed, but without a meta-awareness of the larger ideals, ideas, and conceptual frameworks those structures serve, we end up with little more than empty systems along with cycles of enforcement and evasion.

Comment on Conceptual Frameworks: some thoughts by Samantha

Just coming back from the General Education AACU conference, and this has been on my mind. The tension between supporting students, but also wanting a more enriched and authentic, engaged learning experience is as strong as always. This year’s theme of Design Thinking seemed to exemplify this kind of tension. Is design thinking a framework for solving difficult educational problems or is it a pedagogical approach? Is there “one” design thinking or is it a more loose mindset? And how do you assess it? Should it happen everywhere or is it a different approach to critical or creative problem solving? It seems above all though what I keep coming back to is the way when we systematize teaching, we train students to be part of that system– and to respond as part of that system. That being said, having recently finished my course work for my doctoral degree, as a student I was continually appalled and disconnected from my learning because of lack of structure and lack of authentic engagement. In some ways it mirrors what you are saying here– the systematizing of conceptual frameworks, or pedagogy or instruction is disconnecting and feels inauthentic, and yet, when it feels like there is a lack of structure, it is hard to trust the instructor and see where one is supposed to be going. I really like the idea of making our conceptual frameworks that inform what we do more public, but I would also argue that we should be continually co-constructing those frameworks with our students. I suppose this is the start of a post for #openlearning17, but I still need to get back to the teaching of digital literacy content first.

Comment on Conceptual Frameworks: some thoughts by Steve Greenlaw

I agree with everything you’ve said, Gardner. But to be fair, our students– especially FY students– have a lifetime of experience seeing education the wrong way, so I would emphasize the critical need for the scaffolding you mention. We need to explain what we’re doing and why over and over.

PS, I’m going to email this to my senior seminar, and ask them to think about what *our* conceptual framework is for the class. We’ll discuss it on Monday!

Comment on Accelerating Augmentation by Steve Greenlaw

“It takes humility, and hospitality, to spend time with new ideas, to try them on our pulses, to go deep and go long with concepts that ask us to re-examine many things we take for granted. There’s work to be done. No one has time for this kind of engagement. And what’s the incentive?”

Unfortunately, I find myself thinking this way every week.

How might we realign the incentive structure of academia to make it easier for faculty to pursue this critical “mission of higher education?”