I'm going to try a little experiment with the blog. In my only in-person course this semester I am trying some new ideas out and I am going to document their progress, or lack thereof, on this blog.
The course in question is PHI 130: Ethics. This semester I am calling it "The Art of Living." We will be discussing ideas in ethics but also integrate insights from other disciplines such as psychology, behavioral economics, sociology, and marketing. Some of the core principles I hope to communicate include:
1. Everything is connected.
2. Ideas are important.
3. Individuals can make a difference.
The assignments for the course are going to be somewhat unconventional. There will be no exams or papers in the traditional sense. Students will be asked to take charge of their own learning and document it. They will pursue an interest they wish to learn more about, document their learning progress on a blog, and establish an active presence on social media sites such as Twitter and LinkedIn. They will also be asked to translate their learning into action by formulating a project in which they take what they've learned and apply it to some real world problem.
One of the most important things I can do is create an environment where students feel safe to discuss ideas, take risks with their learning, push themselves, each other and me to do more, and relax and have fun learning. These are difficult things to achieve but necessary and important.
Today we discussed an article titled People Don't Buy Products, They Buy Better Versions of Themselves. The connection to learning is not immediately obvious but I think it applies. When it comes to your education you can take one of two approaches. You can focus on the grade, the credit hours, the degree (features) or you can focus on the skills you can learn (benefits). When it comes to hiring someone, most employers don't really care abour your features: how many As you earned, how many honor rolls you were on. What they care about is what you can do to help them. In other words, they want to know the benefits to hiring you.
Some benefits students should be able to gain from this class include:
the ability to work with various web based platforms (blogging, YouTube, Prezi, Slideshare, etc).
the ability to use social media effectively and professionally (Twitter, LinkedIn)
the ability to formulate, plan, and execute a project.
The ability to communicate in various ways (spoken, written).
I am looking forward to an interesting semester!