Tag Archives: teaching

Beyond Nerf Education

brand_try_faking_it_2

In this evening’s blog post “Coverage and Exploration” my man Phil Ford laments:

Our students, products of the no-child-left-behind era of “accountability” and quantifiable results, expect a full reckoning of everything they will ever be expected to do in a semester. In the years I’ve been teaching, the typical syllabus has grown in size from a simple 1-3 page statement of aims and procedures to a swollen pseudo-legal document that assumes the character of a contract. The more suspicious or legalistic of our students come to treat every class like a drawn-out game of Simon Says and act like the prof can’t legitimately ask them to do anything that isn’t explicitly laid out in the syllabus. The syllabus-as-legal-contract suits the administrators, politicians, and parents who don’t trust the professors any more than the students do. And professors, including myself, go along with it, even if they don’t really like it.

Testify, brother! The biggest problem in this age of lawyers and helicopter parenting is that everything has to be *fail safe*. (I’m pretty sure it was Phil himself who hipped me to the wonderful term Nerf Education; he may have invented it.) In my risk-averse neck of the woods (Canada’s capital) I’ve been told on good authority that there’s little point in applying for government funding for academic projects unless you can demonstrate positive results in advance. Evidently the Age of Exploration is over. Continue reading

Advertisements

Welcome!

A few days since the soft launch of this site and Design Incubator they both seem to be functioning well enough. So feel free to explore, leave some comments, sign up for the blog via the sidebar button. And please spread the word.

The site you’re viewing is a personal blog. Design Incubator features twenty projects produced by my January seminar/studio Adventures in Multimodal Design. Here’s a sampling. Click on a thumbnail to see the whole project, and send it to a friend of you think they might like it.

Alberta Heritage Gazetteer

Alberta Heritage Gazetteer

Beer Styles Chart

Beer Styles Chart

Carleton Surface Sounds

Carleton Surface Sounds

Carleton Tunnel Maps

Carleton Tunnel Maps

Guidebook for Rooftop Bird Gardens

Guidebook for Rooftop Bird Gardens

Iqaluit Visitors’ Map

Iqaluit Visitors’ Map

Morgan's Grant Running Routes

Morgan’s Grant Running Routes

Ottawa Waste Connections

Ottawa’s Waste Connections

Punk Rock Timeline

Punk Rock Timeline

Thanks for visiting,

signature_bw