A Jeanne Site
California State University, Dominguez Hills
University of Wisconsin, Parkside
Latest update: September 6, 1999
Curran or Takata.
Yo, guys and gals. I'm putting up many exercises to guide you through your reading and thinking. Please understand that you cannot possibly do what I am asking of you by just reading the questions and answering them off the wall, according to just whatever you happen to think. I put more thought than that into the lecture notes. And there's lots of written material to which I've referred you.
Having an intellectual discussion of any depth requires time and effort. If you want to go for C answers, doing five exercises a day, OK, but somehow I think you've missed the point. My goal is for you to think deeply about this material and to work at communicating your thoughts. Also please consider what my e-mail would look like if over a hundred students were doing five exercises per class. Were you planning to complete the class in the first two weeks???
And I can't put up my lecture summaries until I give the lectures! That takes a whole class for each one. I put up notes and exercises ahead of time, or at least will try to.
The overzealous attempt to rush through everything I put up is actually fairly typical, and there aren't many of you doing it. This is what happened at MIT with Project Athena. I understand that you want to go through the material and try your hand at it. That's fine. But you do need to read the exercises. Read the assigned material. Read the lecture notes and the summaries. And then have some class or some group discussion. Then you'll have a better idea of how to do some of these exercises. They really aren't opinion questions. You need to look at the resources and consider them. You also need to try to be kind to your teacher if you want her to write to you every week! A part of this process is us getting to know each other. As the Little Prince said to the Fox, just sit over there for a moment, quietly, and let's approach each other slowly.
Tell me in the Subject line what it is about. E-mail is coming in from five classes. Each of you will work according to your own speed. You must make your answers completely understandable without forcing me to go back to look up the questions. If I've asked about a "dog" letter, then you could just type "dog letter" for the Subject line. You don't need to be fancy, but you do need to give me enough clues to read your e-mail on its own.
What I'm asking for, that you give me some title or brief phrase that will tell me what you're talking about, is called an "advance organizer" by David Ausubel, the learning theorist. He suggests that we read far more effectively when given little flags, like titles or key words or phrases, that orient our thoughts to the speaker's or writer's ideas. When we know what's coming, we listen and read more effectively. (David Ausubel's work was already recognized in the '70s, so these ideas are not new.)
I'm a lawyer. So whatever conclusion you draw, I'm going to ask you for the facts that led you to that conclusion. Without such facts the statement is conclusionary, and I can't really decide for myself whether I agree with you or not.
For example, if I say that tests are structurally violent, and you wish to comment on that, then you need to know on what I base that conclusion. If I have made the argument that a single test is given to measure the learning of as many as 60 people, if I point out how different the learning styles of the 60 people are likely to be, and if I point out that the measurement of real learning requires our showing how newly learned material has been transferred into an already existing body of skills and data, then you can decide if you agree if a given test is structurally violent. If the instructor were to design a separate test for each student, based on that student's learning style and growth in knowledge over the course of the semester, then I could argue that the test is no longer structurally violent.
Nag me for more examples. It's a frequent problem for all of us.
Simplest way to send us material is to click on the e-mail button. Here are our respective e-mail addresses:
In the subject line of the e-mail please put a key word identifier: theory/policy/practice, breadth of agency coverage, final evaluation, learning communication, regulation, etc. The key word orients the reader's thinking, so we know what the e-mail is about.
In the first line: YOUR NAMES! Yours and that of anyone that you worked with on the exercise! If you work with more than one group on an exercise, each group may e-mail separately. That's OK.
In the next line: YOUR CLASS! And any other classes if it's a general learning or a shared theory exercise. Records are kept by class. For classes, please use the class name: Love 1A, Women and Crime, Corrections, Criminology, Juvenile Delinquency, Statistics, The Internet.
E-mails will not normally be corrected. There are too many in this dialog we are about to have. But plausible answers are always in the lecture notes, so we assume that you do have access to reasonable answers, and you should not be confused about the concepts. But we do read them, and we will catch anything egregious where you have misunderstood!