[a recent post to my fellows in my current cohort at CUC ]
As students of Educational Technology, we should be interested in the way this educator is doing his educating, right? In his technique? One thing I take from Professor J.M. Lukasik’s class is an appreciation for his technique–his way of instructing a CUC cohort class. (Something that gives credence to my judgement: this is my 11th cohort class in CUC’s School of Education.) Two words to characterize his technique might be “literary” and “provocative.” I say “provocative” because, by his own admission ((2009) he has intended to “trouble” our understandings of education–to push our thinking and challenge its assumptions. I think most would agree that the readings he assigned and the questions he posted succeeded marvelously at “troubling” us. I say that Lukasik used a “literary” technique because of the way he has structured things: it’s all reading and writing. Each week, he provides the literature to feed our minds with “provocative” ideas–and then we engage in discussion through writing. There weren’t the case-studies, bibliographies, formal presentations of other cohort classes we might take at CUC.
We have all commented on the quantity of his assigned readings (and he does win the prize for “Most pages of assigned reading/week in a CUC cohort class”), but if it were just the number of pages, I could have handled it better. My experience: not the amount but the quality of the reading that has staggered me. Someone asked over the holiday how things were going, and I said, “the readings are kicking my mental a–,” by which I meant that only partially that I had to take so much time reading the articles that I was falling behind. What really kicks my mental a– is the exhausting scope of the questions it asks me about my job. It calls into question the ultimate ends of my work, which makes me have to sit quietly and think about first things, which takes time and mental anguish, burns calories and results in my feeling that my mental a– has been kicked.
But although his technique has been “provocative” and “literary” could it also be called “democratic“? Does everyone getting the same readings and online opportunities to participate advantage any one group among us? One could say that the more tech-minded among his students, the scientific left-brained math types (and perhaps not as verbally intelligent) are disadvantaged by his use of readings and writings. And perhaps the students who are “paralyzed” by the curriculum (I am thinking of his remark on Nov. 19 that the “contradictions” brought up by the readings and writing assignments can “cripple” the learner), are similarly disadvantaged. Would the course be more “democratic” if students were able to engage the course material in ways in which they were more comfortable? Is that possible? I’m just asking…
Lukasik, J.M. (19 November 2009) class discussion, EDU 6460: Ethics and Foundations of American Education (Hybrid) CUC, Lombard, Illinois.