Ushering In a New Order for the University

Has anyone else been thinking of the larger ramifications of subsuming new media texts into the composition classroom?  – Not just what it will mean for us in our classes or the shift in and expansion of our field of study as we integrate various fields of study (psychology, depth psychology, communication&media, computer/software programming, art, music, sociology, anthropology…etc.), into our teaching, as our readings showed us this week, in order to accommodate the needs determined by the global direction of the world’s new means of composing meaning and communicating. But what implications our decision might have, what possibilities it might open for restructuring the university? And I don’t mean the difference between face to face and virtual classrooms.

As I imagine it, integration of various fields of study in order to compose and engage with the goal of  facilitating the transformation of a current value system based on illusion that distances us from the “other” for a system that appreciates diversity (particularity) and engages us in interactive relation to each other, as Wysocki dreams it, guides us toward a new world order that I’m completely on board with (I think). So, I take the next step and wonder, what does this change for the next level up from us, for the English department under the Humanities umbrella to, ultimately, the university in general?

What I’m talking about is the wider-ranging “tremors” (to use the term Yancey appropriated) created by integrating new media into composition. Wouldn’t the next stage of evolution which follows our moving away from the test-tube-in-isolation value-system of “hard” science for the integrated approach of particularity be the dismantling of college departments? Can anyone else see a university compiled of classes listed individually, tagged with content markers, sortable by what they offer to teach and how they might satisfy university requirements for graduation. So that, if the university requirement listed critical thinking – I could search for classes with this tag and chose from a range of courses approaching critical thinking through the topic I’m most interested in (i.e.: science, psychology, rhetoric, computers) – a possibility I find to both complicate and facilitate the educational process. Talk about student motivation and potential for learning… Then, the next step, a degree earned globally, picking and choosing classes from anywhere, creating a new organization monitoring degree criteria called – I don’t know – the united nations of education…(yeah, we’ll have to think of a better name).

I feel like this train of thought shares the same space as the final moments of Miller’s “This is how we dream” (part 2) – breaking everything open to embrace the individual, the particular, (perhaps you’ll allow me to dramatically claim), the future… which, ultimately maybe farther than we should be right now. But I can’t help but wonder…

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3 comments on “Ushering In a New Order for the University

  1. I very much like what you are saying about the changes in new media allowing for a change in universities that are overly compartmentalized. I was just talking to a friend that only those in the education and composition departments consider how people learn and how we might teach, so teachers in other fields learn their own subject but not how to teach it. In the literature department as well it is disturbing to me that we only read English novels and books, although we read literary criticism from a wide range of languages.

  2. I think the idea of allowing students to choose the course they take based off of the requirements they meet is on one hand a fantastic idea, despite (in my opinion) the great deal of effort it would take on the part of the educational system. The critical engagement this could potentially illicit from students would be great to see. I do however think this would create a large divide in specialities and less learning across the curriculum. I for one would do any and everything possible to avoid taking a math class. I would look for a course that met the requirement for graduation and included as little mathematical analysis as possible and I think many others would follow in my footsteps. It would be nice to see the general learning courses more involved with one and other and using new media would be a good way to start. By linking an english course to a science course and possibly a math course using blogs or some other forms of media it would enhance all of these courses in both teaching and learning experiences.

  3. I find this idea of a new order for the university fascinating. And, perhaps, a little disturbing. I wonder where the concept of a major of study would fit in this scheme. Especially in the international degree scheme. It seems to me that focusing so much attention on particularity – that of the student and his interest – could serve to decrease community interaction. What is the likelihood of cohort study in this scheme? Is this the ultimate extension of the idea of education for the individual rather that the country/community? This kind of individualized study program has, I think, the potential of isolating individuals.

    The further I get in this program, the more I believe that rhetoric needs to be the foundation of the comp class. New media texts can fit into this model, as Wysocki shows in her consideration of the PEEK ad. The prospect of teaching visual composition is tough for me – I’m really having a hard time imagining what a visual essay from freshman comp would look like. I wonder if there is more value in the interpretation – the critical thinking that is needed to analyze the different rhetorics that our students confront. Perhaps, as Lothlorien says, production of visual media is the bailiwick of the art department. But perhaps the interpretation of it is the bailiwick of comp.

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