My Big Idea. IDS 81660 – CUNY Graduate Center. Alvaro Cabrera
My big idea: To create a new type of higher education curriculum/program of study without courses, without grades, and a different way to conceive majors and minors.
Problem: The need to foster “deep, integrated learning… [and] …analysis across the borders of disciplines” (Davidson, 2017, p. 232), alongside with teamwork and problem-solving skills.
Methodology: Search the literature for examples of curricular and pedagogical innovations, design, seek feedback, re-design, and seek feedback again, in an iterative process.
Product: A curriculum design, including examples of problems and methods of assessment.
Worries: The overall feasibility of the project. Is this curriculum viable?
Curricular structure: The overall teaching-learning strategy is a problem-based approach, with a project-based component. In a typical week, a team of students meets on Monday for a “new problem session”. A tutor introduces a problem to be solved. Under the leadership of one student (role that rotates each week), the team clarifies the problem, brainstorms potential solutions, defines information/research needs in order to build solutions, and distributes the tasks related to the needs. The tutor’s role is to ensure that the students fulfill all the steps. On a Thursday “checking-in meeting” each student reports on her individual progress, and emergent issues are solved. Next Monday, in a “reporting session”, the team presents their solution to the assigned problem, and the tutor provides formative feedback. Afterwards the team receives a new problem, and, under the leadership of a new student, undergoes the “new problem session” steps. During the week, students have individual exploration time, in which they search for information related to the task assigned to them by the group (on the library, internet, talking to experts, etc.). In addition, the institution offers open, non-mandatory conferences/seminars related to the topics that students are addressing in that week’s problems, as a way to enhance their perspectives. The problems will increase, in complexity and content coverage, over time. After 4th semester the problems will require more than one week to be solved. In the 8th and final semester, the students will develop a semester-long project using a Service Learning approach whereby they will work with community partners addressing an issue relevant for the community.
Problems: They must demand the use of more than two disciplines (or disciplinary lenses, or fields) in order to be solved. One or two of these disciplines will be at the core of the problem, but all must involve perspectives deemed relevant for all problems (e.g., ethics, communication [oral, written, visual], statistical analysis). The students will rotate so they will be in charge of tasks involving several disciplines over their course of studies (providing the “breadth” component of an educational “T model”). Every 2 or 3 problems, a student will be in charge of tasks related to the one or two disciplines she is concentrating in (“depth” in a “T model”).
Assessment: There will be formative assessment regarding the problem-solving component. This will take the form of tutor’s feedback, peer assessment, and self-assessment. Summative assessment will take two forms: (1) Individual reflective portfolio where a student will document the problems tackled and the proposed solutions, the team’s decisions (team history); her individual contributions to the work of the team, perceived learning, and personal reflections; the ways she integrated feedback, relevant sources, etc. Every semester, a faculty committee (different from the tutors) will evaluate the overall quality of the portfolio and decide if she can continue her studies in a pass/fail manner. (2) Progress tests focused on understanding and application of content knowledge related to the 1 or 2 disciplines the student is concentrating in. These will take place 4 times a year, and will include all the relevant disciplinary contents from the first test. The student is expected to approve an increasing percentage of the test each time (e.g., 10% the first time; 90% the last time).
My Big Idea (one-pager)
It’s true that we are having some “models” to test students, to see if they are standardized. Students are taught in the same way everyday in class and be tested after a few days just to ensure if they were absorb the all knowledge. But it is going to be terrible if all students think about things in exactly same ways, just like In an article called the ” The Creativity Crisis” by Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman, Kyung Hee Kim, students lost their creativity and their grades were went down finally. Creative is very important, students should be encourage learn in multiple ways.