Friday, September 26, 2008

Gen Ed Conference Notes

I am attending the annual Assoc. of General and Liberal Studies Conference, and attended a session on low stakes writing. Reminded me how much more I get out of conferences when I blog them, and for all the reasons Richard Burke identified--makes me engage with the material, helps me retail, make connections to my own interests,etc.

In addition to Burke's fine presentation--a really great overview of low-stakes writing activities for courses throughout Gen Ed and across the curriculum--I attended a 3 hour session on the educated citizen and public health. One course the presenter, Dick Riegleman, recommends, is a Global Health course, and one of the themes emerging at almost every session is that students are engaged by education with a global component.

A Dean from WPI reported on what their students do globally, but what really caught my attention in his presentation was a first-year experience course(s) they are using, with titles like "Feed the World," "Power the World," "Make the World" etc.. Seems like an interesting possibility for thinking about first-year english classes, if not first-year experience classes.

Saw a presentation about engaging students in diversity issues; what really stuck out was a fascinating course on Gender and Globalization. Nice mix of readings, film, projects.

Currently attending a session on "Leadership for Change." The course is taught under a management prefix, but the course is writing and information literacy intensive. Looks a bit like our first-year course on steroids; not as much emphasis on working on a variety of genres, styles, audiences, etc.. More like a strong inquiry class, as would the the "Feed the World" type courses. Three books used in the course: We Make Change, Fearless Change, Change or Die. The writing included: a measurable goal, an elevator speech, progress reports, final presentation, final paper with reflection and self-evaluation, team work and collaboration. Could also work as English 320, our Bus. and Professional Writing class.

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