Comment on Openly Dedicated by S. J. Blackmon

I appreciate this post, Gardner. Courses can be more than just courses. I often wonder what would happen if we discussed courses as parts of a journey (or “voyage,” to quote the Donne work you referenced). I recently explained to some of my students that a particular course was just the beginning of what they could explore on the course subject, and I encouraged them to pursue the topics further once the class ends. To your point, it may also be helpful to encourage them to consider the fellow travelers on their voyage as well.

Comment on Openly Dedicated by Phillip Long

This is a wonderful idea. I wonder if you might extend it a bit. One of the things I think people often don’t appreciate is the serendipity of the paths of life. It looks so coherent in retrospect, a tribute to the human brain and cultural evolution that seeks to impose patterns and meaning where often at the time it is lived seems conspicuously absent.

In that spirit, a discussion of the comfort and design of the narrative making up one’s life and recognition that in the moment it is not at all so organized and apparent sounds like the right introduction to any university course. This is especially so among the diverse collection of students, many quite young and tenuously formed, who you’ll have in class. Both poetry and music are, in one sense, human expressions of grappling with this fundamental experience.

Good luck Gardner. It is a relational experience. Most classes have very few of these characterizing them. Hence, our remembrance of our own university experiences are largely comprised of the where those relational experiences happened. And sadly it’s not in the classroom most of the time. In some sense that’s to be expected and ‘ok’ if there is a concomitant ‘surround’ to the a students’ experiences in college that layers these onto the experience. But today, many/most students aren’t residential in the college. They do not have the luxury of living the intellectual pursuit. The transactional, as you put it, dominates all other spheres and intrudes upon the scholastic. And the design of many courses is truly instrumental, intended to be ephemeral, as it is brings a person through a series of understanding toward mastery or at least expertise in a skill or economic domain. Much of maths for most students is like that. Only the gifted and blessed few see maths as symbolic poetry, which it should be for many more.

Now I’m waxing beyond the proper boundaries of a comment. Go forth and tell us of your experiment, both after reflection but also during the journey. And consider expanding, at least a bit at the outset of the journey, the reality that our actions exist in a social milieu where part of joy and struggle is in sense-making. “And in the end
The love you take Is equal to the love you make.” Peace.

Comment on Connected Learning: a personal epiphany by Samantha

I love this: “How human agency can scale, not by dwarfing and even consuming those around us, but by equipping us to recognize, and on this platform to demonstrate, the possibility of becoming what Donne describes as “books lying open to each other,” in an environment in which it is possible, in Parker Palmer’s beautiful phrase, “to know as we are known.” Like language. Like love.” Love the idea of the student’s shift of concept of the web.

Comment on Conceptual Frameworks: some thoughts by A. Nelson

Here’s to the frame-workers (Bush, Engelhart, Nelson) for daring to frame, innovate, and integrate in bold, tangled and messy ways, and for resisting the neatness of feedback loops, check boxes, and equivalencies, for building frames on which others could expand, adapt and enable and leaving the blueprints in the drawer.

Comment on Conceptual Frameworks: some thoughts by A. Nelson

Here’s to the frame-workers (Bush, Engelhart, Nelson) for daring to frame, innovate, and integrate in bold, tangled and messy ways, and for resisting the neatness of feedback loops, check boxes, and equivalencies, for building frames on which others could expand, adapt and enable and leaving the blueprints in the drawer.