Too Many Cooks?

Although I was told on several occasions that my experience in this course was mine to craft for myself, I often struggled to find the tools to do so. That was, in part, because the initiative lay with me, but the means and the knowledge seemed to lie with other people. Many other people. Too many people? I knew someone had the answer, and I knew we could make almost anything work, but who and how were hard. It did not seem like information flowed freely through the network of people involved in the various aspects of our course. My independent study advisor held the syllabus and was responsible for grading, but didn’t know much about the bootcamp structure and expectations – the major aspect that I had concerns about. My DBC advisor new about the course work, but seemed not to know anything about our independent study and there-in why my engagement with the DBC material might be different. John-Michael and Kristen knew how all the pieces moved together, but they largely were not responsible for the syllabus or grading.

Having John-Michael as a point person and facilitator was invaluable. I am glad his role could shift and adjust as the course took shape. I also think it would have been valuable to have a conversation as the shift from peer to staff happened to make sure expectations were clear. During our first few course meetings we discussed a more flat structure and it seemed like we were going to try to facilitate and make decisions as a group of peers. Though I really appreciated John-Michael stepping into the confusion to guide us more closely, I think we missed a potential opportunity to reflect on how that changed the course and our expectations, both in the class meetings and for grading or expectations on work and our abilities to craft our own experiences.

If communication can be strengthened, then I think having a lot of advisors and avenues for support can be an asset instead of a point of anxiety. In addition to encouraging DBC to communicate information to their whole staff more, I think it would help to have more structured engagement between the faculty advisors and the other aspects of the class. Perhaps we could have invited the faculty advisors to one of our evening meetings, or we could have had mid-semester meetings with DLRD folks and the faculty advisors to check-in about revisions or adjustments to the syllabus.

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