During the 2012 Winter semester, my two second semeter composition [ENG 102] classes at Schoolcraft College will focus their research around student engagement and learning in the 21st century. Dr. Cathy N. Davison's Now You See It: How the Brain Science of Attention Will Transform the Way We Live, Work, and Learn will serve as the initial inspiration for our discussions.
For their research project, students will create the Ocelot Scholars website to promote student success. As a way to make this project manageable, their primary focus will be student athletes. However, in creating the page, students will do it in such a way that, in the future, it can be expanded to include sections for other subgroups of students: single mothers, working students, veterans, students in recovery programs, students whom have been in foster care, and so forth.
The challenge for the course will be that we are coordinating the Ocelot Scholars website between two classes as well as with other interested individuals. For example, two students--one in the 1:00pm section and one from the 2:30pm section--might be working together on a team. That team might also include a student, faculty member, advisor, or coach who is not enrolled in either section or who might not even be associated with Schoolcraft College. As such, the class will not just discuss skills needed in the 21st century but will provide opportunities for students to develop those skills. Furthermore, because the Ocelot Scholars website will be available after the class ends, students will gain a credential they can place on their resume.
In order to facilitate communication, we will take advantage of the resources offered by HASTAC. Students will be asked to take out a free membership in HASTAC where they can then join the Ocelot Scholars group as well as other HASTAC groups. Our involvement in HASTAC will allow us to blog about the class, better communicate with each other, take advantage of HASTAC resources, and easily permit individuals outside the class to join our discussions.
One of the issues we will discuss throughout the semester is what Dr. Davidson refers to as "attention blindness;" a problem that happens when we are so focused on one thing that we miss what else is going on around us. Rather than argue that such blindness is a problem, Dr. Davidson argues that recognizing attention blindness gives us an opportunity for collaboration. By collaborating through HASTAC, we will enjoy rich discussions that will challenge us and improve our work.
I look forward to discussing this class and other issues concerning teaching and learning in the 21st century with students and colleagues. I will especially appreciate individuals who ask tough questions and challenging my approach to providing quality educational experiences.