Reading the Campbell piece made me wonder about introducing a Technology-Intensive course designation that would fit alongside UMW’s Writing-Intensive and Speaking-Intensive designations/requirements. I know we have the new Digital Studies minor, but that is an opt-in program, whereas a TI designation might be a way of broadening our definition of the types of skills liberal arts majors WILL (rather than COULD) develop at Mary Washington. Maybe that goes along with the long-term goals of giving incoming freshmen web space, and has already been discussed, but it popped into my head, and a cursory Google search reveals that there are a few colleges out there with TI courses.

5 Thoughts on “Technology-Intensive course designations

  1. If my memory serves me (and it often doesn’t) this college has already been down this road and found at least two reasons not to make this requirement.
    1. The students are often more savvy than the faculty.
    2. The range and pace of change in computer enhanced communication, art and play is breath-taking. What syllabus could we write that wouldn’t need to spin at the rate of the clock of National Debt just to be in one place?

    I would vote for a IE course, “Intellectual Engagement” except who will teach students to take risks, experience success and failure, discover that it doesn’t hurt to be wrong, or, the most important person to impress is yourself.

    A problem with faculty endorsing a TI class would be focusing on products (so the faculty could be evaluated) when we know that the agility of active minds focuses on process. WordPress 3.81 is good, its current, and it will be replaced, probably in a couple weeks. It is the phenomena of digitally mediated thought and communication that is enduring, not the platforms, or protocols.

  2. I actually think you could have something that frames the issue as “digitally intensive” and it frames the particular possibilities and problems facing any particular issue or discipline based on the digital developments in a field. This may be different in terms of a designation, but I like the idea of various courses thinking through how the digital revolution impacts a field of knowledge.

    Also, I think there is some basic technology frames that aren’t simply tool based. Learnign how to manage a web hosting and domain abstracts us out from that a bit, and that would be one palce to start. Jeff McClurken has talked a bit about digitally inflected courses, and this sounds somewhat akin to his ideas. I like this train of thought.

  3. I’ve gone back and forth about how I feel about this question. On one hand, I think it would be helpful for students to be aware that a class intends to delve deeply into the use of technology (& we wouldn’t necessarily need to make it a requirement, but just a designation, like Service Learnig). As we crafted the digital studies minor, we began with a list of such digitally inflected classes (though I suppose we should follow up on that again). And, there is a related argument to be made that we should require students to learn the principles at the heart of the digital studies minor. (Gary’s right that a focus on particular products would be bad, as our previous tech requirements focus just of MS Office showed. But I’m not bothered by that. Any TI requirement could be process, not product focused.)

    Still, on the other hand, there’s an argument to be made, and one the provost alluded to a bit in his talk at the all faculty meeting, namely, that all classes (or at least most) should be digitally inflected, if not intensive. In that world, a TI designation seems redundant.

    • But if the rationale is that all classes should be digitally inflected, does that still leave room for intensives that go a step beyond? All classes have some writing and speaking component, but we still designate intensive ones.

  4. That’s just one of the complications. WI/SI are designated that way because they meet particular conditions and develop particular aspects of Writing and Speaking that the school has decided we want to emphasize. But, of course, there are many classes taught (by me and you and our colleagues) that have lots of attention to writing and to speaking and we don’t designate those as WI/SI. So even in a world in which all classes are digitally inflected, there would still be room for a TI designation that would emphasize certain aspects of engaging with technology/digital world. Again, though, it would take agreement from the faculty that such a focus is important.

    It will be interesting to see what happens with the Digital Knowledge Center which will parallel in some ways with the WC & SC which are the keepers of the WI/SI requirements. It may be the start of those curricular discussions.

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