I can see the end of Liberation Math, the course. As we near the end, I want to both slow down to enjoy the last bit, and to ask “What next?” As I slow down, I start to ask myself this course actually is. Specifically, what is this course Liberation Math, but more broadly, what is a course in general? Is a course a collection of goals and outcomes that we meet in order to be successful at the course? Are courses stepping stones to a degree or a specialization? Are they administrative units that are collected in order to provide certification and signal productivity? Are courses events along a possibly transformational route to a degree? Do we need courses, or can education occur outside of them? Do courses help us focus, or do they constrain us, or do they do both?
I have a few readings and videos to share about courses and education.
- There was a #digped discussion in January about courses, which is summarized here.
- The introduction to the #digped discussion above links to an essay by Jesse Stommel on online education, which has some critical discussion about courses and some of their trappings like assessment and lectures
- Lee Skallerup has written an essay about her students creating courses as part of an assignment and she moves from a description of the created courses to questioning the purpose of courses.
- If you want a vision of education without courses as we now understand them, watch this charming and inspiring TED talk by Logan LaPlant. It raises the question for me of who gets to have access to the kind of education he describes, since he clearly has a lot of resources at his disposal, but it is a wonderful vision. And if you haven’t seen the Sir Ken Robinson video he mentioned, you can find it here, and it is well worth a look.
From your point of view, what is a course? What are the benefits and drawbacks of the way our schooling is divided into these discrete units? What has this course been to all of us involved in it? What is the best way to wrap up the experience and move forward? Can we carry something with us that breaks out of the bounds of the class?