Sunday, March 15, 2009

Some ideas for English

I stumbled up on E. Gordon Gee (prez Ohio State)'s recent call for reforming all of higher education. He articulates what I thought we have been trying to do, but perhaps OSU just isn't as cutting edge as NDSU. He did hit a few particulars that resonated with me, some problems that I have not tackled.

1. He singles out things like the "solar car" competition, involving not only teams from a single U but teams made up of members from more than one university. I've long thought "English needs a "solar car" competition.

2. He says U's should make sure all students have passports; students should study abroad, globalize. Agreed, although nice practical suggestion vis-a-vis passports.

These two items got me thinking: What if The Global Club of English Majors (Garrison Keeler, honorary prez) sponsored something like a "Social Entrepreneur" competition that had as some of its criterias of success:
--number of universities connected.
--number of participants.
--number of continents connected, etc.

I participated in "Congo Week" in October 2008; that seems like a "Social Entrepreneur" model to strive towards. Perhaps "sustainability" would need to be added. Students would need to do this work outside of class; they would need to not only take up a cause, but build a community, probably raise funds, etc., etc.. If "social activism" or "student activism" is obsolete, perhaps its goals can be retrieved through social entrepreneurship. Do I need to invoke McLuhan's "true function of computers": To orchestrate global energies and promote harmony.

As I was reading Gee's piece, an email telling me about "Global Conflicts," an online simulation, came to me. Clearly related, but perhaps another post.


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