Graduation through Public Scholarship Assignment (Opinion)

After the end of our second full year of epidemic education, it is difficult to notice the different effects of COVID-19 on students and instructors alike. In recent times Inside higher ed Blog post, John Warner “Apply.”[ing] An educational lens of structural problems that has been exacerbated by epidemics and work[ing] To create the best possible human connection with students that is compatible with life, both complex and in many cases inseparable from the epidemic. ” I agree with Warner that this will be a missed opportunity to label all educational coordination instructors during the last two years of “testing” and to retake teaching practices from the fall of 2019.

Instead, lessons learned from the epidemic are an opportunity to re-examine the foundations of university education. Faced with student inspiration and instructor burnout during the epidemic, I turned to public scholarship assignments to make an impact in my undergraduate classroom.

Dr. in the introduction to his book Public Influence: A Guide to Op-Ed Writing and Social Media Engagement (University of Toronto Press, 2019), Mira Sucharov has made a compelling case for why advanced degree holders should be more involved in shaping public opinion. He claims that “experts have access to information and a depth of understanding that is useful for solving problems of public interest.” He then went on to outline strategies for moving away from the 7,000-word peer-reviewed essay format needed for the term and moving toward genres with greater impact and the potential to “strengthen civil society.” A growing number of professors have, in fact, embraced the writing of public scholarships. But what interests me is asking the question “What if, under our guidance, we help our undergraduate students become experts and the level of influence that is practiced at Sukarev’s advice is the responsibility of more experienced educators?”

This question, Kathy N. It intersects with many of the principles that Davidson has explored The New Education: How to Revolutionize the University to Prepare Students for a World in Flux, (Basic Book, 2017), has become the inspiration behind my epidemic era public scholarship assignment. Davidson’s book describes a variety of innovative learning practices in higher education environments. Although he does not specifically use the term “public scholarship”, he describes an initiative by the University of Virginia as an example of “a comprehensive, capstone ‘engagement’ experience that will connect students’ classroom learning with some real-world projects. In that case, the effect is clear. ” Davidson believes that students’ motivation naturally increases when they imagine their learning relating to something outside the four walls of their classroom.

In the UVA case study, enhanced student motivation stems from a learning experience that serves the public, much like writing a public scholarship for which Sukarov supports. Then, a natural extension of Davidson and Sucharov’s arguments is to ask students to be experts, to exert influence in their community, and to make a public contribution that can also help fight COVID-19 fatigue.

I designed a course to test this theory. In the spring of 2022, I taught a French film class, which was organized around a film festival that was open to the public. For one of their initial assignments, I charged the students to assist in the management of the festival and evaluated them on their ability to embody the role of an expert. With my help, they made their knowledge useful to the general audience and shared what they knew in a public scholarship speaking series.

Keeping in view my desire to motivate the students, I asked the students to work in groups based on their intellectual interests. Behind Davidson’s book, “Tips for Getting the Most Out of Your College Experience”Form a study group. The best research on college success – whether in a top-10 university or in a remedial class at a community college – suggests that being in a study group is the single most important way to improve your performance, maintain your motivation, and keep you going. Success track. “

By designing public scholarship assignments as a group project, I expected:

  • Give students a chance to solve problems. The epidemic profoundly affected their opportunities to work collaboratively, and teamwork is an important skill.
  • Reduce the stress of being a lone expert. Since students had the support of peer group members, each person could rely on several student peers as fail-safe in case of not knowing anything.
  • Build flexibility in participation. Students can examine their comfort zones and decide whether to challenge their natural inclinations or to contribute using a familiar skill set.

The film festival ran for six consecutive weeks and was sponsored by the FACE Foundation’s Albertine Cinematheque. My students worked together both inside and outside the classroom to promote the festival and to specialize in a given film, the period during which it was released, the debates it involved, and the people who made it. At the festival screening, they launched the film and prepared the audience for a title that was rarely seen by the American public. The students ran through the technical aspects of the screening and took questions from the audience at the conclusion of the film.

Audience participation varies greatly from one screening to the next, but I noticed a noticeable difference in student engagement: knowing that someone in the audience could access their skills and raise a question motivated students to master the material. I haven’t seen all the films yet, so they relied on each other to cover all their bases for these events.

This type of assignment can be especially useful in certain types of organizations. Texas A&M is a large land-granting university, where the organization’s goals are tied to community involvement. People living in the greater Brajos Valley surrounding the university often rely on campus activities such as this film festival for their cultural value and entertainment. With the participation of a live audience, public scholarship assignments can be especially successful in a college town like mine. The same can be said of liberal art colleges in a rural setting, where student life is involved with the dynamics of the surrounding city, or for students studying at universities in urban centers, where students live with family members and commute to campus. Towards the end of these settings, students may invite friends and family to participate in university life, and such assignments may lead to a broader dialogue about the role of higher education in society.

Naturally, a film festival will not work for most course learning outcomes. Fortunately, public scholarships can be conducted in a variety of ways, and the only essential element is to share skills with an audience that does not grasp them. Students can publish blogs or op-ads, create a YouTube channel, create tick-tack videos, or host Twitter Q&A sessions.

On the last day of class, I asked students to share what they envisioned as experts in their chosen subjects. One student, in particular, explained that she didn’t think of herself as an expert at the moment, but it was clear to her that she knew more about the subject than I did, along with her instructor. Students expressed how the role of the specialist boosted their confidence as well as retained the elements of their course.

It is my sincere hope that the summer will allow students and instructors alike to recover from the past two years and that students will return to college in the fall of 2022 with the same level of inspiration that was common on our campus before. Worldwide. No matter how challenging the new landscape may look for the coming academic year, I submit that many things can be achieved by designing assignments for which students must participate in exchange for public scholarships.

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