I learned in our quick chat dances that the possibilities for conversation in this seminar will be diverse. Nozomi's class, for example, is an art appreciation course. She will take her students to visit museums and galleries. They're going to study art history generally from 1950-present. The students are going to use sketchbooks. Last semester, some of their drawings ended up in e-portfolio. She is considering using blogs. I was impressed with the range of experiences possible for the class, and eager to hear more about how to connect the students together.
Maria's class on Language Acquisition is part of a cluster I'm teaching. She seems to have a terrific idea for a course wiki using Google Sites. She also began to speak of a glossary project, which seemed fitting. I wonder whether or not our students could add terms to the glossary from our ENG 101/103 discussions. Her students are also keeping a blog, and I also wonder if there aren't ways to connect them together. I would like to learn more about how to connect blogs from the same cluster.
Rebekah is working with Hugo and Ari for her ESL class themed around art experiences. I heard her speak yesterday at Opening Sessions during the Learning Communities presentations about using student writing about art as a text for the class, in addition to to "art itself." She has a dynamic set of ideas about new possibilities for connection. I asked her about an idea I've been kicking around about using chat. She suggested that I return to an idea she employed during her tenure as director of the Writing Center at Pace. She said to have the students chat for five minutes about a piece of text to ground the discussion. This idea was marvelous in its simplicity, and made me want to explore it further.
Judith works in career development. She wants to use the seminar in part to develop student career plans into courses. I also learned about how intense the mission of the career development center can be. In her words, it's about bringing working-class students into the middle-class; to do so, her office has to direct students toward good fits for their talents and ambitions. More and more they will have to direct students toward four-year institutions to increase students' chances for jobs. What a thoughtful and profound mission -- I remarked that it's strange how as more and more public services are cut and more and more of the larger culture disintegrates, professionally and socially, the role of serving students in higher education becomes more important. The community college system is a socialization process, and personal development process, and not just an education track.