Monday, January 11, 2016

Bob has already seen much more potential for tweaking these assignments in a new direction.

Wow – the last post was seven years ago. In that time Bob and I taught another project-based course (Virtual Worlds in 2011) and I taught six other project-based courses (Aesthetics of Dissonance – twice, Chaos Theory and the Arts, Postmodernity, Symbolism and the Theatre of the Absurd, and Postdramatic Literature). I have found a fairly stable rhythm with the project classes and the intent on revisiting this class with Bob is, in large part, disrupt that rhythm to more closely study how best to approach this style of class. It is hard to overestimate how impactful that first Gen Art class was on my development as a teacher. The flexibility of both the subject and the syllabus allowed us to guide the class depending upon where it was headed. While the same was true, to an extent, with the other project courses, the past few years I have been working to strike a balance between flexibility and structure. Bringing Bob back into the mix allows that dynamic to be a bit more fluid. It has also helped shift me out of the habit of using project prompts over and over. While there are a few “tried and true” ones built into this class, Bob has already seen much more potential for tweaking these assignments in a new direction.

Our approaches to the subject have also evolved over the past few years. Having two instructors who don’t necessarily see the subject the same way has great potential for dialogue. If I had to define those directions I believe Bob has more of a focus on systems, whereas I am more interested in the improvisational or “generative” aspect of the work. Similar approaches, but with some fundamental differences. I am looking forward to the intersection between the two. While I may have some apprehension about sharing the space this term, I do know that sharing often leads too much more of a focus on pedagogy. Specific to that is to focus on leading students through in-depth critiques of the projects – my weakest area as an individual teacher. We have mapped out the term fairly well, but I realize that even the first projects may send us off on a completely different course.

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