Link to What's New ThisWeek Submission on Model for Merging Academy and Community

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Paper Submission

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California State University, Dominguez Hills
University of Wisconsin, Parkside
Created: June 29, 2004
Reviewed:
Latest Update: June 29, 2004

E-Mail Icon jeannecurran@habermas.org
takata@uwp.edu

Index of Topics on Site Model for Academy/Community Learning and Interaction
We were attracted to your conference by your mix of participatns. Yours may be one of the few conferences in which we actually fit.
"The New Orleans RGC Conference is the only organization of its kind, which focuses on the intersection of those three terms, Race, Gender & Class. The Annual RGC Conference is providing a scholarly forum, which allow those working in the field to further their study though their interactions in these issues. The conference is bringing in activists and community members, thus providing an opportunity for much needed interactions across institutional boundaries. There is no other Conference in the world that addresses all three areas, their intersections, and their impacts on people lives, not only in this country but also throughout the world."

Title:

Naked Space: A Safe Forum for Merging the Academy and the Community

Topic Area:

Would fit in either education or politics, depending on how those sections are composed. Our emphasis is on actual practice of discourse on current event social and political issues shared between community and academy.

Presentation Format:

We expect to have a laptop available so that we can share with you our Internet teaching site. I expect to purchase a laptop that can operate wireless, but will have to be check back with you on that. Our model uses the Internet teaching site, which we can probably show effectively on CD if necessary. We could talk about the model in a paper presentation format, or actually offer a workshop with the materials we are using available for praxis. Depends on how you compose your sessions.

Another alternative is that we set up one of the Naked Space Gallery Exhibits as an actual site for community/academy dicourse on social and political issues. We do a gallery exhibit once each semester, and are presently on the program as an Internet Exhibit with the Cultural Analysis Summer Academy Conference in Amsterdam, July 2 though July 5, 2004. They were kind enough to include our Internet version of the Naked Space Exhibit of May 2004 on their program, even though we could not be in Amsterdam, so that others who are concerned with the integration of community and academy in real education will be able to reach us. Program Participants and Abstracts.

Names of authors, departments, affiliations:

Because this submission involves actual praxis, a regularly occuring gallery exhibit in real and virtual space, all five of the following would be collaborative authors, each with a different role in the community/academy discourse model.

Curator of Naked Space Exhibit, May 2004.:

  • Michael Griffin, B.A.
    Gallery Exhibit, Spring 2004
    Hypertext Intern for Internet Exhibit
    Through Department of Political Science
    California State University, Dominguez Hillls
    1000 E. Victoria
    Carson, CA 90747
    Telephone: (310) 243-3431
    mevysen@sbcglobal.net

Faculty Adjuncts:

  • Jeanne Curran - Corresponding Author
    Professor Emeritus
    Department of Sociology
    California State University, Dominguez Hillls
    1000 E. Victoria
    Carson, CA 90747
    Telephone: (310) 243-3431
    FAx: (323) 874-4982
    jeannecurran@habermas.org

  • Susan Takata
    Professor and Chair
    Department of Criminal Justice
    Molinaro 362
    University of Wisconsin-Parkside
    Telephone: (262) 595-3416
    takata@uwp.edu

Community Adjunct:

  • Patricia Acone, B.A.
    Department of Sociology
    California State University, Dominguez Hillls
    1000 E. Victoria
    Carson, CA 90747
    Telephone: (310) 243-3431
    patriciaacone@hotmail.com

Youth Adjunct:

  • Elise Zevitz, High School
    Through Department of Criminal Justice
    Molinaro 362
    University of Wisconsin-Parkside
    Telephone: (262) 595-3416
    takata@uwp.edu

Abstract:

Presentation of a currently functioning model of a forum accessible to and used by both community and academic participants in discourse on social and political issues of immediate import. The forum is granted legitimacy through its link to the university through activist faculty and provides broad community linkage through open access to the model and its database on the Internet. The more focused community of students and their families, friends, local neighborhoods are drawn in through gallery exhibits each semester, during which there is an opportunity for face-to-face discourse. Concurrently with the real time exhibit, we upload a virtual exhibit to our website, Dear Habermas . (See the virtual exhibit of the May 2004 Naked Space Exhibit.)

The model draws on the social theory we have chosen to focus on: answerability , illocutionary understanding, governance discourse, Habermas' system of law, amongst many others. We provide brief summaries and discussions of the main concepts on the website. Then we rely on collaborative and transparent approaches to learning to put together the exhibit projects that will lead to the discourse in face-to-face classes and on the website, to be shared with the community in the Naked Space Gallery Exhibit at the end of the semester. We base certification of learning (grades) on measures that permit anyone who needs certification to choose the most effective means of demonstrating his/her learning.

Collaboration is achieved through our team approach. People are welcome to work together, or not, as they choose, when they choose. All products of that work are collaboratively shared on our teaching site, where all benefit from them, and grades depend on each person's own selection of effective measures, in whatever way works best for him/her. Collaboration is seen in our real and virtual exhibits in the written and visual texts provided by all of us, building collaboratively on one another's work. Our site and exhibits carry a Creative Commons License. We invite others, both those with greater expertise, and those with less, to build on them with us, or in another model on their own. Instead of testing, we practice holding each other to a professional standard of production. Because we believe that workers matter and deserve to be heard and their validity claims considered, we are open and flexible, and able to adjust to each others' needs and crises. (See Reframing Organizations, Bolman and Deal.) We assume that those in need of certification will satisfy our requirements professionally and be given an A, which we consider a far more effective and honest situation than one will find on most campuses today. (See On Grade Inflation and "deep learning," Carnegie Perspectives.)

Transparency is achieved in ourteaching model by not dictating the means of measuring learning. In both essay questions and multiple choice tests, all students who in fact made the effort would perform very well, if there were not hidden barriers, like the masking of several steps to arrive at the answer. Students are encouraged by such obfuscation to believe that there is an answer, a right answer, with little concern at the masked steps they fail to see. We consider that discovering how to measure one's own learning, how to demonstrate competency and consistency, ecourages the discipline that is required for "deep learning." Consequently we do not use tests. We provide many discussion questions, but we also provide details on what we were thinking of when we asked the question. That means that if our question is not readily answerable, we notice because we're trying to answer it ourselves. And it also means that there are no invisible barriers over which anyone is expected to leap.

Transparency is achieved on our website by several files that illustrate who is working on what at what time. For example, we provide open access to a daily record of files uploaded or revised. As we start new files, start paper presentations, receive messages, and receive writings from others, we upload them. The process of creating the site is visible. And as we run into difficulty with the process, we candidly explore those difficulties on the site. (See Remain Open to All Knowledge, But Don't Send Me That Link Unless You've Evaluated It.) And often this happens over a period of years. See Sharing with Peers and Instructors, in which we see applications retroactively of the concept of transparency in relieving early anxieties and intimidation in a teaching model that so emphasizes answerability.

We have come to lean heavily on visual approaches, in response to the dilemma that "bookish learning" can be off putting to those who have not held long apprenticeships in the academy. That doesn't mean they do not want to explore deeply the social and political issues of the day. Through summarizing many texts, we offer a sampling of how much substantive reading there is out there that they're more than willing to undertake when the concepts have become clear through discussion and they have had adequate choice in finding a path they're motivated to choose. To this end, we try to maintain the site's breadth and multidisciplinary character. For the one who has enjoyed a brief stroll down one of the paths of "bookish learning" will make far more trustworthy social and political decisons than one who arrogantly thinks such learning unnecessary.

We have come today to the point of reaching out, to Cultural Analysis Summer Academy, meeting in Amsterdam, to a high school teacher in New York, to bring our readers and ourselves together in this real and virtual forum, to take back the academy, as it was once, perhaps not since the Sorbonne in the 15th and 16th Centuries, but once, envisioned. (See Graffiti as Art and Answerability.)



Site Copyright: Jeanne Curran and Susan R. Takata and Individual Authors, June 2004.
"Fair use" encouraged.