Sunday 12 April 2015

Time, Timing and the Timely by Cameron Tonkinwise - Core77

Community-Partnered Courses are sometimes—not always, but more often than should be—excuses for courses that seem to involve less time, rather than more. The learning is thought to lie in the experience of learning to work with the wicked problems of community partners, so less prep is even occasionally considered better for this kind of sink-or-swim pedagogy. The DO-ference proved the reverse—that community partnered projects take much more time to get to the place they deserve. This makes community partnered projects very difficult for universities. Firstly, there is always the procrustean problem of wedging a community's problems into the arcane timetabling of a semester length class—"your problem needs to be only of a size that will fit a 10, 12 or 15 week class meeting twice a week." Secondly, and perhaps more significantly, there is the issue of how a university accounts for the prep time required of a community project. In effect, universities pay faculty to teach, and in some cases to do research and service; in which cost center then to put the time spent with community partners, time that will make for an effective learning experience (or conference) but which is not actually time spent in the classroom? This time is not well characterized as research (is new knowledge being created?) or service (normally meaning 'to the university')? Without solving this accounting problem, how can universities be incentivized to deploy their intellectual capital, including those int


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