Friday, May 6, 2011

Tentative Matrix of Courses

Here are our results at our first cut of populating the matrix of courses that would make sense to put together. There are several outstanding questions at this point.  Our agreement was to sort of sit with this first cut and see what emerges.  This is a little like putting together a very complex often has to stare for a long time and the different pieces when suddenly it becomes clear how they can go together.

The outstanding questions:
1. What do we do in the disciplinary places where we don't have a known participation (e.g., MATH)?
2. How do we deal with the famous "upside-down-curriculum" that embeds early, specific, disciplinary courses into the freshman year? In these cases, it appears that students will either not be able to participate or that they will have a substituted experience.
3. Doe the economic model still hold?
4. What do we do with the sophomore fall term?

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  1. This is really great! I like the progress and the questions. It sure seems like we are getting focused and making progress. See you soon.

  2. Perhaps you can come at Fall from this angle-what types of courses could deepen and enhance the service learning project aspect of the class? Not so much the project itself, but the organization for whom they are doing the project? The stakeholders? Original creators of the said location? (e.g.: the San Miguel Mission-if a history course could be offered or a comparative religion type class, etc) Having not been at the meeting on Thursday, I don't know if this issue was addressed.

  3. Regarding the possible courses considered for inclusion in the Sustain program:

    I think there are great benefits to be had by tying student learning to real, meaningful, interesting projects in the community. Putting to good use the tools they are acquiring in classes can be very valuable for the students.

    It seems that there are some classes that are better suited for inclusion in the Sustain program than others. For example, I can more easily envision the incorporation of a course such as Math 112, The Nature of Modern Mathematics, than the incorporation of the Calculus courses (Math 141-241).

    Math 112 covers a variety of topics from modern mathematics, their applications and their role in society. This class is intended for students who are not math/science/engineering majors. By connecting this course with the Sustain projects, I think the students would obtain a greater appreciation for mathematics and its applications. Furthermore, since Math 112 generally isn’t a prerequisite for later classes, I think there is more flexibility (and room for experimentation) in the teaching of it.

    I have some difficulty envisioning how Calculus courses might be incorporated well in Sustain. The Calculus courses tend to be required courses for many majors (Engineering/Science, etc.). The Calculus courses build on each other and are prerequisites for many other courses in those students’ majors. The stakes are very high in these courses. The quarter system is already such that the syllabi for all of the Calculus courses are very tight. There is little (or no) room for falling behind. A student who falls behind by one week may be lost/behind for good.

    I understand that the inclusion of the Calculus courses in Sustain is desirable in order to allow students from as many majors as possible to participate.

    I continue to think a lot about this.