Thursday, March 31, 2011

Final Project

Last week my students in COMM 339 made me an offer I couldn't resist.  They asked if they could write the "paper prompt" for their final class assignment.  I not only encouraged them to do so, I reserved the last half of class time today to allow them to work in small groups and then as a class to write their assignment.  One of the students then asked (in jest) if they could write the grading rubric as well.  I stunned them by saying yes.

The class is "Communication Technology and Culture" and has focused on the intersection of imagination and technology both through innovation and cultural visions of technology in science fiction.

The students designed a final assignment for the class that was based on many of the principles I had been talking about throughout the semester and provides them with a few options:  one is to "build your own world" another is to "invent and market a piece of fictional technology" and a third is to construct a vision of what the world looks like absent a piece of technology in widespread use today.

The place they struggled with the most was grading.  Even though they had asked to do it, they found it exceedingly difficult to create standards for evaluation that they all could agree on.  The one exception being that bringing food to their final presentation should merit some reward or extra credit.

The papers they wrote from their midterms on principles of remediation in the Frankenstein story were first rate and quite ambitious both in execution and imagination, so I am really looking forward to what they come up with.

I finally settled on the following standard for grading their projects:  I will evaluate them based on how well I feel their project truly captures their passion for the subject and relates it to the course material.


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  2. Reading this makes me think of my own 6th and 7th grade English students.

    The only way for them to own their learning experiences I'd to have them participate in the construction.

    Even with the amazing result it's always scary to release control, but it usually turns out to be worth it.

    I'm looking forward to reading more from you.