Saturday, August 22, 2009

What's Good to Do in a Classroom These Days

Dear Linguistics, Fiction, American
Transcendental & Romantic students
plus Colleagues across the Curriculum.

Courses Without Borders Series
Virtual Lounge: Fall Semester—O9

What’s good to do in a classroom these days?

What justifies bringing a mess of students
together to sit under fluorescent light
surrounded by each other and
black boards, brown or green?

It can no longer be

“the dispersal of information.”

We know that, but it can’t be said without
demoralization. .

Anyone can go to school from K thru 12
on-line now, take all of MIT’s course
offerings, enroll in numerous non-
residential degree programs, and
home school lower and higher
education as well as our own
Masters in Fine Arts

Or eschew credential & diplomae altogether
Go it alone with lap top, the way folks
read law & even medicine in early times..
Some would say: Sam, you could get as
decent an education as Yale reading the
NY Times through every day. And it’s
lap-top dancing now for free..

Certification keeps us in business.
Credentialing, sure. Degree-conferring,
stamp of approval, robes and mortar board
graduation speeches. Hallowed halls & alma
matrix: our habitat for Post Adolescent humanity

In our case: 1,000 acres nestled in the Blue
Ridge, plus Work skills & commitment to
Service, world wide experience and
environmental concerns; but the question is:

What’s good to do in the classroom these day?.

What justifies various degrees of attention
efficiency from a captive audience for whom
attendance policies and quizzes and exams and
papers and posters and presentations and talk-in-
class credit reinforces if not guarantees
compliance from them who could get all the
info on line, plus the texts, plus commentary
on the texts, plus back & forth exchange &
converse-action 24/7/365 all over the world:
sending links and be-here-now videos, chatting
it up, arguing a glitter and a shine if they were
fundamentally interested in learning:
starving Liberal Artists?.

Nothing like vis-à-vis, Sam:
warm-body exchange,
guidance, feed-back,
assurance & reprimand,
structure, dead lines,
red-pen correction,
office advice, grades
to correlate, calculate,
evaluate and assess or
assess and evaluate
in loco parentis as kids
make the transition to
young adulthood.

A masque. From behind which,
elders ruminate and roar.

Like a well-planned syllabus,
the whole system of credentialed
and reinforced classroom education
generates its own self-validation.

Take-A-Course Inn.
Write-a-Paper .Palisades
Wall Drug. Who’s going to by
pass? What parent would encourage
alternative routes? Here’s $150,000
Here, take this money & run buy a
motorcycle, cruise blue highways
a 4 yr road trip. Oh, & pack your

All I’m trying to do is set IT up so that the

What’s good to do in the classroom these days?

might be worth putting in play, some critical
thinking is all—acknowledging that this kind
of query questions underlying & hidden taken-
for-granted assumptions like asking Dr
define ‘democracy’ or “liberal” in the middle
of political science, or begging Dr. B to really
defend never splitting an infinitive; or shifting
measurement from velocity to position while
sustaining the appearance of moving on down
the road, monkey wrenching the cogs of yore,
zero-basing up from old scratch & reinventing
wheels while still conducting the business of
teaching as usual.

Media is Also The Message
Questioning the Process
as well as the Product
is all.

xxxooo, Sam

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