Your personal projects will map our path to our overall class project!

3a3ff37Our time together last night was a wonderful start to the kinds of discussions that I think are possible throughout this semester.  As a group, you were all thoughtful, collaborative, personal, considerate, and energized.  I know that there is knowledge that exists in our ranks (real life knowledge, besides our book knowledge).  There are most certainly many personal stories (that should inform what we will all learn as community).  I have great hope for the innovative vision and special contributions made during this course.

As you all know, we still have some work to do to pin down the content and schedule for the rest of the semester.  By the end of our next class together (Tuesday evening 2/17), I would like to see a completed schedule and draft of the syllabus (by your own design).  As I have said all along, your work will ultimately be determined by all of you.  I am here to guide and support you all.

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You have determined through discussion that a final outcome for this course should be a website, an online space, a digital omnibus of our collective contributions and aspirations.  This is an excellent vision.  How do we get there?  I think we need to identify what we would like to develop as individuals, and then somehow connect these projects to broader course themes and group presentations.  I suggest that a crucial next step is to identify your specific project.  Many of you have already blogged about this in Blog #1.  You have explored the possibilities a bit through discussion.  This time around, I want you to commit to something particular.  What are you going to submit to the collective “digital omnibus”?   Now is the time to narrow down your ideas.

The “action items” for next time we meet in person:

1.  Blog #2:  Your blog should serve as a “proposal”.  I want you to develop an individual project proposal.  There is a difference between “I would like to explore some issues regarding race in the classroom” (way too vague) and “I will make a 20 minute documentary film which includes four different examples of why race is an unavoidable factor in shaping the course of student learning” (much more specific).  Your proposal for your class project should be as specific as possible.  Include details like -the materials you plan to use, -the inspiration (if you have a “model” or reference point that inspires you), -the questions you will be asking, -the probable length of proposed artifact, -the people who might be involved, etc.  Please put on your creative thinking cap.  You have full reign here to do what your heart desires.  Push yourself to articulate (with as much detail as possible) a fun and inspiring project coming from your most sincere interests.  If you have to do a little research to clarify what you are thinking about, then by all means do that.  You can also email me if you would like some feedback as you consider your proposal ideas.

2.  After you have pinned down your project proposal (and written about it in your blog), please sign up in this document for one of the “units” or “themes” for the course.  Place your name and a brief description of your proposal (one or two sentences) into the document.  This will help us in designing the overall class structure/schedule.  You will have to consider what “umbrella theme” your project best fits in.  I suspect that some of your work will fit in a few of these “umbrella” concepts.  Do your best to choose what you think might be the best match.  We will strive for balance in terms of the number of students on each team.

3.  The final “to do” is to read your classmates blogs so you are familiar with the other proposals for the course.  This will spurn an amazing class discussion when we meet next Tuesday.

Looking forward to it!

Dr. Zamora

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Ps.  Here is some food for thought – an exciting opportunity for this class: