Creativity & Multicultural Communication

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Creative development ...

By Joyce McKnight () on link by cyeager, Creative development ..., November 9, 2012.

I don't want you to feel lonely Carol.   I think that Open Educational Resources that allow for individualized self-directed learning should be encouraged for everyone and for the most part need not be attached to old higher education structures.  

But, there is a big role for the use of OER's and other tools to enable students to fill in gaps in prior independent learning, document what they know, and be acknowledged for it.  For years I have thought (and still think that Empire State College has many of the answers to this through our Prior Learning Assessment process) and that this can be "scaled"  so that  larger numbers of people can benefit.  Learning in this manner could be document through e-portfolios and then become part of transcripts.

But there are several blocks to this...after 15 or so years of working with ESC students in various places, I think the weak link is in helping students gain skills to control and document their own learning and that the most difficult part is getting them to believe that the learning activities they map out for themselves are just as "real" as those like you and me with the requisite letters after our names create.  I would like to hear from you and especially from students about what might be done to help them just relax and learn...and not be constantly worrying about the "A" or the "F" somewhere out there.   If that fear could be conquered along with the development of easy ways to account for learning we could build at least a parallel higher education system.   Just thinking and glad for the opportunity. 

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Re: Creative development ...
I've been thinking about this post for several days and I've come to the conclusion, that teachers and other officials are the reason we worry so much about our grades. We are pressured to always do our best, we have to be smarter than anyone else to get anywhere in life. You want us to be able to learn in a relaxed way? Then get rid of grades completely. Grades are stupid. Some teachers judge their grades on how you write, and if you don't write in the style they like, then you can never get a good grade, even if the paper is well thought out. Math is a little different, numbers and formulas are always going to have only one answer. In fact I bet a lot of people are doing self learning and they don't even know it. You read or hear about something new that piques your interest, and what do you tend to do? You go research t on the internet. If you find this information even more interesting and want to fully immerse yourself, one tends to get books. Because quite rankly the internet is a sloppy place, with information scattered all over tons of different websites, and some articles are very skimpy on information, while others have a plethora. In fact Carol even uses a grading system. If we are participating in this course, then we are doing so to get a grade and college credit. In order to receive a good grade, one must participate. The problem is, most learning is done because it has to. We need a degree in order to get the job we want. Half of those classes are taken because someone somewhere told us we needed those classes to be well rounded individuals, even if those classes bore us to tears. I think its nice to be a well rounded individual, but I think college should focus more on what you actually want to learn and what will be useful to you in the "real" world. I know I do a lot of learning on my own, most of it will probably never be useful, unless I somehow incorporate it into my writing. But when it comes to classroom settings, my brain is usually not engaged enough for me to really get anything out of it.
By wolfinthenight () on November 12, 2012. [Reply]

Re: Creative development ...
I had a discussion with our Education Division about the relative merits of having the students arrange their own field experiences versus the department being in control. The consensus among faculty was that they know the students' needs and they know the local school districts, so they're better placed to make a match. My response was that we are all in charge of our own education, and the sooner the students have to face up to that, the better.

So yes, part of the problem is helping students gain control and document their learning, but another part of it, I think, is getting faculty to cede some control. It's too easy for us to become set in our ways, to do things the way they've always been done. Students end up being trained to figure out what a teacher expects and do what they need to do to get by, because that works in so many classes.

The real challenge of making that kind of change is in "the development of easy ways to account for learning." I'm not sure that there are easy ways. But there should be ways to bring effort in line with reward.

Just a thought...
By phb256 () on November 13, 2012. [Reply]

Re: Creative development ...
Thank you all for your cogent reflections and suggestions.  I am still processing each of your comments and have put my response into my "incubator" for a bit.  There are a few affordances that have come to shape the realm of the "academy" (higher education) and I am not sure that they always serve us to the best advantage.

Teacher has come to mean someone who is all knowing and has all the answers to most everything ... I personally believe that the answers are not the important artifacts; better questions are most important for continued learning.  Joyce McKnight refers to the letters beyond our names ... rather than expounding upon my personal philosophy on those letters at this juncture, I would suggest that letters do not convey the end of learning, nor even the penultimate of learning ... we live a life of self directed learning, for the most part.  Our social and business structures tend to force us into a rigid mold of what to learn, when, how and what the results (indicating an end point) need to be. And just what do those letters after our names mean?

The administrative structures control what the educators and educatees are required to attain in order to achieve some arbitrary "pinnacle"  of assessment as to ability ... I am not sure what this signifies and why grades are so sacrosanct .. other than it is easier to look at a grade and make a decision of worth, than it is to write and then read an analysis of learning, skills and implementation and make a decision of potential value to an organization.  As many know, even the job application process has been "streamlined" into online applications and computer programs searching for "key" words .. just to be able to be considered for an interview!  Yes, grades, at least to me, are not a true measure of value.  In fact, for years, ESC did not "award" (as in a contest!) grades at all.  We wrote detailed evaluations of an individual's understanding and implementation of a set of concepts, ideas and skills.  I do so miss that opportunity to inform myself and the student, as a reflective benefit, for both the student and myself.  It is through those reflections that I have been able to better define what and how I can facilitate the learning in the areas in which I engage.

My passion is lifelong learning for everyone.  The world changes so rapidly and will continue to increase at an even more rapid pace. We really do need to be flexible and self directed in lifelong learning to maintain our viability in contributing to our own growth as well as that of our children.  It is inherent upon each of us to model the self learning leanings we need to prosper as a society.

Personally, I am a learning facilitator, not a teacher who thrives on control of knowledge ... the internet offers us the opportunity to "know" ... we need to develop self learning abilities to reflect, develop and implement what and how we learn.  I posted an article on the differences between knowledgeable and knowledge able ...

Thanks to all of the respondents for giving me even more food for rumination ... more to come after a bit more incubation :) I have no answers ... only bigger questions.

By carol yeager (Carol Yeager) on November 16, 2012. [Reply]

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