Last night we spoke to John Michael and reflected on the past two sprints as well as discussed next steps. We mainly talked about how we have felt kind of on our own the past several weeks and how to avoid feeling that in the future. I felt frustrated during the conservation because it seemed like he was hearing these feelings/thoughts for the first time, even though the first sprint was completely about making our support systems official. I was also frustrated with myself because immediately when we left I asked Andrew, “Was I too mean?” NO. I am allowed to express frustration and I should not think that makes me a bitch–but that relates to my personal struggle with gender dynamics and really has nothing to do with John Michael (haha love you JMM). Nonetheless, I left that meeting wondering if we had failed or if we had succeeded. Was it a failure to ask for support from professionals when we are trying to test out a student-run course? Is that our answer?: it doesn’t work, we need help. Or, was it a success because we now know that “student-run” does not mean “anti-professor” or “student-solo”? I am not sure.
When I think about a traditional course, we are given direction; however, last night we asked for direction. Imagine a course where we must design our own course and must continually ask for the direction we think we need. Would it work? Does it already exist? As a student, it seems that my feedback from the professor is in the form of a grade—almost when it is too late. Whereas in this independent study, we are not evaluated in the same way. We receive feedback and alter our path accordingly–there is really no risk. In a class, we need to commit to a path, risk getting a bad grade, we adjust based on that feedback, and then do it all again for the next assignment. Is that effective? Is that motivating? To me, the distinction is asking for help because we want to succeed versus receiving help and needing to succeed. Does that make any sense?
Also, I want to analyze our risk in this independent study using the chart we made yesterday. We are taking a risk by doing this independent study. I would define failure as, at the end of the semester, JMM and Kristen are disappointed in whatever we come up with, don’t understand it, or don’t see it’s purpose or application at Davidson. I would define success as JMM, Kristen and faculty understand to our findings and use them to inform future courses and assignments. Do you all agree? Disagree? We should talk about that.