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Wil Franklin's picture

Individual participation in a Team Participant Structure?

Along the lines of collective wandering and the team metaphor, I would like to add observations that Peter Brodfuehrer shared with me.  In what I see as an effort to structure "collective wandering" in one of Peter's courses, he does not give out lectures, lecture notes or PowerPoint slides, rather starts a wiki and asks students to add, alter and post questions directly to the "collective lecture notes".  This seems to me an invitation to co-explore new topics that Peter would like students to think about, but leaves plenty of room to move in unforeseen directions - in student directed lines of inquiry.  

Only problem is students don't participate.  Are they too unfamiliar with this "participant structure" or perhaps, too unfamiliar with the topics to know where to wander or feel safe wandering?

I like his strategy, but is the perfect balance it requires achievable?

I very much appreciate the idea that the classroom is not full of binaries, but rather a place to help students (and ourselves) practice stepping out, reflecting back in, comparing both and constructing meaning from the interplay of both.  However, the same initial questions still remain for me.  Where is the balance, how is it achieved and how would one even know if it was achieved?  Especially, when assessment is primarily summative/content based?



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