Adam Blaustein Rejto
Disclaimer: the opinions and advice in this article are the work of its author(s) and not representative of the School of NS, Hampshire College as a whole or any professor in particular –including Herbert J Bernstein,who is on sabbatical Fall 2016 as well as all other NS professors.
Learning Activities and Learning Activity Projects
In 1995, Robert Barr and John Tagg published the article “From Teaching to Learning—A new paradigm for undergraduate education.” This article distinguishes the “instructional paradigm,” where students learn from a professor or teacher, from the “learning paradigm,” where the emphasis is placed on shaping a setting where students can discover and contract knowledge for themselves and with their peers. A continuous challenge for Hampshire since its conception has been to craft these learning environments and experiences that allow community members, particularly students, to discover and construct knowledge for themselves. Throughout the years, Hampshire has relied on the course and the independent study, two learning activities that are both officially dependent on faculty at Hampshire, continuing to add weight to the workload of Hampshire professors.
But there are other options! You could sign up for the course listing, NS-299, the Learning Activity Project (abbr. as LAP). NS-299 is a course listing that isn’t on The Hub. It’s not an independent study and it’s not a course. But it is a self-directed learning activity that can include anything from a semester long project, or completing Div-relevant reading, to an informal learning group or forming an EPEC where students can design a self-run course together. Learning Activity Projects show up on your transcript along with courses! They can be evaluated by qualified students, staff members, local professionals, faculty at other schools–all you need is someone who knows your work and the field of your project well enough to evaluate you.
Option number two! In addition to Learning Activity Projects, you can register anything you’ve learned outside of courses as a Learning Activity. These Learning Activities can be evaluated and will go on a separate page of your transcript. As opposed to courses, independent studies, or LAPs, there is no deadline to register a learning activity; you are able to register internships, volunteerships, personal projects, and more with your advisor. Even if you did an internship two years ago and have a note from your supervisor, you can STILL register this with your advisor or committee as a Learning Activity.
If you’re interested in knowing more about LAPs or signing up for NS-299 email:
Open Doors and Email Addresses
Faculty at Hampshire have two jobs, professing and advising. During the last few years at Hampshire, advising has been emphasized less and coursework more. If you talk to some long-time Hampshire faculty, they’ll tell you, every year they have fewer and fewer one-on-one advising talks with students. Some students, staff, and faculty at Hampshire are firm believers that students/advisees at Hampshire should never be afraid to walk into someone’s office and be curious. You don’t need to be in someone’s course to learn with them. Herb says: Advising isn’t about teaching or about finding the best person in your field, it’s about finding someone you can learn with, someone who can inspire you and is open to being inspired by you and your creativity. If you have a question and are willing to listen and learn, go ahead and email that faculty or staff member that you’re drawn to; go knock on their door and introduce yourself. They’re here to learn from you too.
The Institute for Science and Interdisciplinary studies and Bohm Dialogues
YOU may have been invited to Hampshire’s Institute of Science monthly Bohm Dialogue. There is a pretty good chance you saw these words in your inbox and deleted that weird email you got from ISIS. We’re working on changing the email account, but this bad PR is the work of us over at the Institute for Science and Interdisciplinary Studies. One of our long time projects at Hampshire has been the dialogue project, building on the work of physicist and philosopher David Bohm. That’s right, those emails aren’t ISIS Bombs, they’re Institute Bohms. Since 1992, the Institute has convened Bohm Dialogues on the first Wednesday of every month. This is a space to practice a unique style of dialogue where people work together to observe the thought process and the incoherent, fragmentary nature of thought and ingrained assumptions.
There are many different ways that someone ends up on our email list, but if you are not on there and would like to be or would like to find out more about attending the Bohm Dialogue, please email us at isisGU@hampshire.edu or email firstname.lastname@example.org.