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Thursday, April 21, 2011

Making progress

We had a really great meeting today with the faculty collaboration. Roger helped us use the "sticky wall" to try to solve the puzzle involving.....

Course and projects
Projects and Topics
Students and Projects
Faculty and Topics

After a lot of discussion we looked at a ridiculous project of "playing basketball for 2 hours a week" to see if even such a seemingly meaningless project could incorporate the topics from our course. A bit of a disclaimer in case someone misunderstands this example. We want to have students working on meaningful community based projects like described on our SUSTAIN SLO blog, and we are not saying Basketball is meaningless. This is just an illustration.

We all became energized around this. Below are some really great contextual examples around basketball.

Physics -
acceleration, motion, collision of elastic and non-elastic objects.
- varying rates of movement. Balls traveling in a parabola. Maximum and minimum points using derivatives
Statistics - Free throw percentages, is there such a thing as a "hot" shooter? Probability of making a shot from different points on the floor.
Economics - Diminishing marginal returns, opportunity cost, consumer choice model, institutionalization of basketball, wage comparisons
English composition - Anything mentioned in economics can be formed into an argument, Analyze the voice, Analyze trash talk.
Communications - verbal and non-verabl communications, strategy of movement
Audience analysis, who sits where and why (i.e. Jack Nicholson)

Next week we will discuss various models of illustrating the interplay between course, students, time, projects, faculty, and anything else that matters. There are many ways to look at this, a request was made of the group in general to bring your favorite model to share.

I think we are making progress.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Capturing the process of collaboration

I've been thinking that I want to capture what it is like to collaborate with the faculty group. So far, we are faculty from English (2 women), Agribusiness (1 man), Physics (2 men), Engineering (2 women, 1 man), Biology (1 man), Economics (1 man), Communications (1 woman), Math (1 woman), Statistics (1 man). There is a woman from soil science and a man from history who have not been able to participate.

Ha. I've just finished typing this and I notice that I've separated people into disciplinary categories, making that the most prominent feature...I suspect doing this is a symptom of the disease of being an academic: we divide the world that way.

First, it is so refreshing to sit down with colleagues and think together.