Monday, August 31, 2009
Saturday, August 29, 2009
Friday, August 28, 2009
Thursday, August 27, 2009
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
Writers typically appreciate comments from readers. It gives more meaning to the writing activity and makes it seem more like a conversation and less like a broadcast. In our class setting it will help us to feel like a community rather than like a bunch of individuals who happen to meet together on occasion. So I encourage you to comment on each others posts. You can do that directly or in your own blog by making reference to that post, in which case you should link to it. Commenting directly has the benefit that the author will almost certainly see the comment and may very well respond to it with another comment. Commenting indirectly through your own blog shows how the original post influences your own thinking by tying it into your other ideas.
Unfortunately, spam is a reality with blogging. So you need to take some steps to block it. There are different degrees of protection you can take. These include who can make comments as determined by their login, whether commenting requires word verification, and comment moderation. Keeping the spammers out, however, makes it more difficult for legitimate comments to get through. In particular, if you moderate comments, you should set up an email alert so you know there is a comment that awaits moderation. I believe Wordpress is more sophisticated than Blogger on this score in that once a login has made a comment successfully after moderation the same login is given free access to make comments without moderation thereafter. (Especially if you use Gmail, Blogger does have some benefits over Wordpress in its integration with other Google applications.) You do want to encourage your readers to comment. Assuring that legitmate comments appear in a timely fashion is part of doing that.
Monday, August 24, 2009
Friday, August 21, 2009
Thursday, August 20, 2009
In this particular interview Collins talks about why great institutions decline. He believes there is a consistent pattern to the decline and describes a 5 stage process, with hubris at the first stage and over reaching somewhere after that. The interesting thing for us is that if you reverse his stages you get an awful lot of what Drucker and Senge argue for and a pretty good model of Effective change.
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
Class attendance is expected (except in the case of illness, where if possible please notify me by email). If a student has to miss class because of another obligation, the student should alert me in advance of the date. This is relevant for the team activities. They will be scheduled so no team member anticipates missing class.
Violations of university standards of academic integrity will result in appropriate disciplinary action. See http://www.admin.uiuc.edu/policy/code/article_1/a1_1-401.html.
Course grades will be assigned based on the following cutoffs:
During the second class session, Wednesday August 26, the class will discuss how student performance gets translated into measured scores. There are some decisions that I'd like the group to make as a whole regarding this assessment.
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
One slow Sunday follows another and then you find that you want to feed the craving. So you start to read general interest periodicals and the reviews in those or perhaps you start reading periodicals that are mostly if not exclusively devoted to book reviews, such as the New York Review of Books. Then, because you feel you need a break from slugging through the reading in your discipline, the slow Sundays creep into your lunch hour during the week, perhaps breakfast time too. You find that you can both unwind and learn about things outside your speciality. Its a way to get thoughtful commentary on a diversity of topics.
This, then, provides a glimpse of the goal, what you want the reader to feel from the piece you have created. What follows is a different approach to this requirement.
You are to write a review of one of the books for the course. Almost certainly, you'll be able to find reviews of the book you choose elsewhere. You are not in competition with the authors of these pieces. You will produce a different sort of review. In what you write you will create connections between the book under review, other shorter readings in the course, and the general course theme. What implication is there in this book for effective change? You will further tie the book to your own experiences. By personalizing your narrative, you will create a unique story, one that differs from prior published reviews.
Ultimately, what you produce should be at least 3000 words. You'll get to that in stages. First you need to get me a precis of what you plan, 500 or 600 words that describes the general ideas. Please don't give me a bulleted outline. I like sentences. They are better for communicating your thoughts. Plan for a day or two of turnover so I can read and give you feedback. You can start on you draft straight away, without waiting for the feedback. Ultimately, however, you'll need to incorporate it into the first draft. I do expect you to proofread your draft ahead of time for general readability.
We can iterate multiple times within the four weeks that the project is due. If you think you've nailed it after the first pass, and my comments suggest likewise, you can stop then. Don't linger on that possibility however and use it as a reason to try for the perfect first draft. It is better to get something workable out there and then reconsider it afterwards. Also, the writing requirement demands revision. That is the expectation.
Here is a tip, especially for those of you who have not done much writing on your own before. Read as many book reviews as you can the first few weeks of the semester. If you find the same reviewer for multiple pieces and you like the style, try to imitate that. When I first got started writing my blog, I tried to emulate Stephen Jay Gould writing in the New York Review of Books. (I loved his essay called The Streak of Streaks.) Imitating the master is a good way to get started. Your own personal style will come out from trying variations on that.
I would like the precis and the final draft submitted to be on your blog. If you want to send me earlier drafts differently, that is ok. It's also ok to put those on the blog too. If you ever go back to your own writing later, it will be interesting for you to note how the piece changed from draft to draft. You are welcome to write one of your weekly reflections on that.
1.2.4 Courses approved to meet the Advanced Composition requirement must involve writing assignments that (a) demand analysis and synthesis of the subject matter of the course, or in the case of writing courses in the rhetoric and communication disciplines, application of the principles under study; (b) require substantial original composition (typically totaling at least 20 to 30 pages over the course of a semester); and (c) involve multiple drafts throughout the course of the semester. By special permission of the General Education Board a two-course sequence may be certified as fulfilling the Advanced Composition requirement, if the writing component of the sequence meets the standards specified for certification of a single course; credit for Advanced Composition will not be given for completing only one course in the sequence.
(20% of Course Grade) After a brief introduction by me, the guest(s) will be interviewed by a pre-designated team, using a format akin to a panel interview for a TV news show. I will serve as moderator. The rest of the class will play the role of audience and may be able to ask additional question after the panel concludes. Each team will be given a rubric to guide them in coming up with their panel questions. In response to the rubric and the underlying issues that the guest has been invited to address, the team will draft a plan for asking questions, including which members will ask which particular questions. This plan is due at midnight before the panel discussion is to be held. As with the class discussions, the panelists will be encouraged to promote good flow, provide follow up questions for the guest, but also to stick with the plan.
The classrooms have the capability of recording audio for later playback. We may decide to podcast these interviews along with the other materials that the teams create. Subsequent to the inteview, the team will write up a summary and provide other relevant content to understand the issues raised.
The current slate of guests is:
1. September 30 - Some College CIOs
2. October 7 - Dean Ruth Watkins (LAS) and Dean Larry DeBrock (Business)
3. November 11, 1 PM - Mary-Ann Winkelmes, Office of the Provost
4. Unscheduled (but late October or early November) - Libbie Morely, Director of the Writer's Workshop
5. Slot not yet filled - the class can express opinions on whom to get.
Monday, August 17, 2009
Sunday, August 16, 2009
Required Books: These have been selected not because they are comprehensive on their respective subjects but rather because they are well written (several could readily be enjoyed for pleasure reading outside the scope of this class) and because they articulate a strong point of view on their subjects. Students should purchase these books, though we’ll try to have a copy of each on reserve. It would be fine for students to share the books so each student doesn’t have to purchase them all. Below they are listed with links to their Amazon.com pages and current price quotes.
Better Atul Gawande $11.20
The Process of Education Jerome Bruner $17.10
The Essential Drucker Peter Drucker $12.21
The Fifth Discipline: The Art & Practice of The Learning Organization Peter Senge $16.17
Declining by Degrees Edited by John Merrow $10.17
The Tipping Point Malcolm Gladwell $8.99
Other Readings: These are there either to supplement or contrast with the books, to acquaint the students with other contributions in the area, and to encourage a multiple perspective view on the underlying issues. All of these should be available online, either through the Library or because they are generally available, and hence are free to the students.
Microcredit - Muhammad Yunus (Enterprising Ideas on PBS, NPR pieces, Charlie Rose Show, Nobel Prize site) Microfinance New Yorker Article
How People Learn – National Academy Volume (Chapters 1 – 3)
The Role of Deliberate Practice – Ericsson, Krampe, Tesch-Romer (Pyschological Review)
Facilitation of Autonomy and Intrinsic Motivation – Ryan and Deci (American Psychologist)
An Institutional Framework for Change – Douglass C. North
The Executive Mind and Double Loop Learning – Chris Argyris
Dealing with the Future Now – Guskin and Marcy (Change Magazine)
What We Are Learning about NSSE – George Kuh (Change Magazine)
And other readings that come up during the offering of the course.
About three quarters of the course will be devoted to foundational material. The remaining one quarter of the course will be a class project done collectively. The belief is that irrespective of the field these students will ultimately find themselves in, many of them will devote a significant amount of their work time to design for change in their field of endeavor. The course aim is to provide the students with frameworks in which to consider that challenge. The final project is meant to ground those frameworks in an actual design for change.
The foundational material itself will be partitioned into three parts, each with some defining questions. Part 1, meant to serve as motivation, considers some examples. What does effective change look like and can it be contrasted meaningfully with other practices that are less effective? Part 2 focuses on learning of the individual. What do we know about learning, how can we encourage students to learn and think about their own learning, and what are the main impediments to deep learning? Part 3 focuses on the organization and management of the organization. How does learning happen in an organization and in the community that the organization serves, how can such learning be encouraged, what needs to happen culturally to promote this type of learning, and why do some organizations not learn and hence fail?
The project we’ll consider is the possibility of implementing a Campus sanctioned program of peer mentoring, aimed at encouraging students to immerse themselves in their own learning and at countering the alienating effects of large class instruction. We’ll consider the case where more experienced students mentor their junior peers and eschew the alternative where the mentoring happens between students taking the same class. We’ll ask how this might work for the benefit of the mentees, how to elicit participation of the mentors, how the program integrates with the planned instruction, and what will it take to get it started. Timing-wise, we’ll start in on some of the project content about midway through the course, while continuing with the foundational material till the course concludes.