Vol. 15 : No. 7
Editor's Note: These are postings from learners involved with the models introduced by Dr. Bensusan. These records capture the enthusiasm of the students and a significant level of multidimensional interaction as they explore the subject matter. They show depth and quality of thinking and clarity of expression. The fact that students come back for course after course is a clear demonstration that something exciting is happening in this kind of learning. Their mentor serves as catalyst and guide for a class that is essentially driven by the students. This is, we believe, a significant shift in learning-education structure.
Communities of Learners
The Hexadigm/Change Model
Erica Kisluk - Wednesday, March 28, 2001 11:05 PM
The following is my original interpretation of the Hexadigm that I wrote for my first of five Humanities classes with Dr. Guy three years ago. It captures my first understanding of the Change Model.
After reading (and rereading) the Hexadigm essay, I began to focus on the concept of layers. It reminded me of the sand art I used to do as a child. Some of you may be familiar with this - there were often booths at school fairs, craft classes etc. where you would be given a bottle and several different colors of sand. The idea was to take the different colors and layer them in the bottle, creating unique and individual patterns.
Despite the appearance that each color was separate, it would be impossible to keep them from mixing. Shake the bottle, and the pattern would evolve - the colors would mix even more. However, although the pattern would appear less and less like individual colors, each individual grain of sand would still be the color it was when it was placed in the bottle. If the sand is compared to different cultures in different parts of the world, consider how a bottle filled with all the same color sand would look. Then, consider how a bottle filled with many colors would look. The bottle with many colors would be more interesting, and would inspire more thought than the bottle containing all the same color.
Some cultural evolutions are more noticeable - shake the bottle vigorously, and an immediate difference in the pattern is noticed. But consider that even adding one new grain of sand changes the pattern, even if it is not visible.
If a culture decides to close itself to change, I do not think it is completely possible. Even if a cork is placed in the bottle, preventing more sand from being added, all it takes is a tap or a shake, and the pattern changes. The "tap" or "shake" could be a minor or major event within the culture - the end of a reigning dynasty, a weather event, a revolution, a philosopher, etc.
Dina Michelle Hood - Wed Jun 06, 2001 13:03
I was very interested in this six part model of thinking. The hexadigm is in direct contrast of what many of us believe is the correct way of learning or gaining knowledge; however, it poses many new ideas of organizing and categorizing knowledge. I was particularly interested in the general process of this model. I appreciate the perspective of this model, being that we have to look at learning through the experiences of others, not just ourselves and our perspective. How do we write and read history? Usually through our own perspective, the Hexadigm opens up a whole new world of knowledge. This process first examines cultural sequences, the place where we start our journey of understanding. A chronological layering method is applied of the different culture that settled in the Western Hemisphere, from Indians to later Europeans and Spanish Americans. Secondly, is the mutual influences section, discussing languages, customs and labeling effects of neighboring culture and communities. Regional Diversities discusses the geographical locations and distances between communities, looking for better opportunities leading to immigration. The way that these culture and communities figured their geographical distances out was due to advancing technologies. Modernizing Technologies really got communities changing and evolving at a rapid pace. This industrial revolution created more jobs connecting communities and culture more and more.
Why isn't this method taught in our educational journey? I am six months to graduation and I am now learning this great way of obtaining knowledge in a logical and great way. On more occasions than not we get so wrapped up in completing a paper or doing research, we don't stop and realize what we are studying. We just want a good grade that we don't take the time to become acquainted with the information, we just try to memorize and cram. I believe that by interpreting expanding our methods of learning, like the hexadigm says, we might just retain more. I think what the hexadigm is saying is that we should take time to really care about what we are learning, or teaching and how we do it.
Diego F Mastroeni - Wed Jun 06, 2001 10:38
Having taken a wide array of history courses spanning from early childhood to the present today, I can genuinely see the stark contrasts between the hexadigm model to that of the traditional methods of education in US History. In an attempt in understanding this paradigm one must set aside the standard principles of our nation (a self-centered interpretation) and unmask a multicultural alternative. The Hexadigm model explains in great detail the truths of an emerging society by many different people, not by one point of view but by many. Throughout the annals of history, many, many nations have failed to uncover themselves due to the very fact that they focus all their energy on themselves, leaving little or no room for evolutionary comparisons of relatable attributes of their neighbors. This method of conditioning has been passed on for centuries, leaving the present inhabitants with nothing but heroic tales of their own society, which intern fails to mention any other neighboring truths leaving evolutionary movements at a stand still.
As in the story of Columbus, our nation's golden emblem, the father of our land, the one who sailed the ocean blue, the radical Spaniard with endless stories of greatness that go on and on. However, what they fail to mention in the hopes of maintaining a narrow minded society or one that goes through little change is the way it really was (the raping and pillaging of land and Native inhabitants).
Ultimately, we all learn from each other whether on one part of the hemisphere or the other. Without the different influences from many cultures, diversities within the species would only involve genetics, rather than arts, language, love, and many more distinguishing peculiarities.
Bradley J Palmer - Fri Jun 08, 2001 11:46
The Hexadigm seems to be like a video camera with which we record and interpret history. This video camera can zoom in and take in one part of the scene at a time - seeing what each part of history adds to our overall understanding, or it can zoom out and view everything together.
The problem is that for so long we have had the camera zoomed in on the Anglo-American scene and we have forgotten that there was a zoom button to look at the whole picture.
The Hexadigm seems to take everything that has affected our history into consideration (as much as we know about) in order to interpret it in such a way that represents each part of the history with fairness. I think that the danger in using the Hexadigm as the ultimate historical looking glass is that it fails to take into account our current blunders in understanding the past. We can look at the Hexadigm and see everything that has happened in regards to the cultural sequences, mutual influences, regional diversities, modernizing technologies, expanding comprehensions, and revised interpretations, and still fail to see that we still don't have all the answers - that the expanding and revising is continuous.
Often in our society we erroneously believe that because we have advanced so far in our technology and understanding that we have overcome the historical blunders. However, it is possible that they (the peoples of the past) may have understood some things in a more accurate, more complete sense than we do. It would be extremely arrogant to assume that because we can examine what a people did that we understood everything about their perspective of the universe. The strength of the hexadigm is that it does see the world as the world - and it eliminates those cultural boundaries that make us think of ourselves as distinct groups. We are all travelers on spaceship earth.
Jamie K Bressmer - Sat Jun 09, 2001 21:09
After reading the Hexadigm and the many responses provided by our classmates I can say I have a better understanding of the hexadigm. Like Jeanna, I am from the midwest and growing up, I feel as though I was cheated out of a lot of history regarding the South West. The hexadigm gave me a lot of insight to other cultures, religions, races, and the history behind them all. As Rebecca had stated about her world history class as being more like a US history class, I can very much relate to that. I think this assignment has provided me with more information and in depth views about other countries and their history than my history classes growing up. I would also like to point out that I have never really sat back and paid attention as to how opinionated some teachers and the texts can be. Once I hear something the first time, it is hard for me to change my original thoughts about that subject. I am a very black and white individual but I am beginning to see the gray shades. I think this model is very informative and beneficial, at least to me it was. I was glad to discover that we are not the only self-centered country. By this I should give an example. This weekend I saw the movie, Pearl Harbor. I thought the movie made the US look absurd. It was as if we, the US, couldn't stand to admit such failure. We had to hype it up to make us look better for our audience. I sat there wondering what other countries would have thought had they watched this film? Not to say the movie was horrible, I just think it was really biased and made other countries look bad. There are two sides to every story. Anyway, enough comparison about the movie and the hexadigm. I really enjoyed this reading even though it took me some time to put my thoughts together about it. As someone had stated earlier, we must know where we came from before we can understand where we are going.
Gregory Marcel Gonzales - Sat Jun 09, 2001 00:47
How can we say that we are truly educated if allcan we do is simply recite back what has been delivered to us. I don't believe anyone would be considered a true chef, for example, if all they could do is open a cookbook and follow the directions. A true chef would be able to cook his own creations based on knowledge and experience regarding which ingredients and courses make a delightful meal.
I believe that to claim to be educated is not just about possessing the base knowledge, but also having the ability to go further, considering other aspects and being able to create an in depth, better understanding of the subject. This is something that I have truly struggled with throughout my education. The reason could be due to the fact that we are commonly not taught to seek other sources and are instead taught that what is written is gospel, so to speak. The Hexadigm addresses this concern and explores subjects more in depth, as opposed to what is usually presented by traditional "education". The Hexadigm gives freedom for us to question, seek, explore and conclude.
Walter Klain - Mon Jun 11, 2001 22:30
Wow! What a reflection of the components life in a nutshell. In reading the text of information for The Hexadigm, I will begin with, what is one's state of origin, was it ever genuine? What is the traditional and "old way of life?" Was there ever?
Coming from the perspective of a Native American, after reading The Hexadigm, I have to state that the six interacting parts of The Hexadigm Model are intertwined and affect every life form. Whether it is a lizard or a native person, every life form must adjust and adapt to everyday changes by grasping and absorbing the available information to use for your own.
I can personally relay that in my 33 years of being, I have seen changes within me and the sacred place I call home. Without adjustment and adaptation one will have difficulty in living the quality of life. I am a Navajo; I have seen positive and negative adjustments within my tribe. The once "old and traditional way of life" has been altered and adapted in order for most to live a quality way of life. Though this has taken a detrimental effect on our language and culture, in some instances our self-identity has slowly deteriorated. Other has been somewhat successful, but pay a price of some sort to adapt to the ever-changing environment. Does this make sense? The Hexadigm has taken these six interacting parts of:
I was totally enthralled at the explanation of each component and it's direct application to my life .... very interesting!
Duality and Fleeting Memories.
Duality transforming into singularity.
Duality, the plow, and assimilation.
Memories into Darkness.
I am not sure which title best describes the feelings that numerous authors have stirred inside my head. I believe there is something rather grand here, and I would like to incorporate a multitude of views, along with some of my cultural baggage, and see what we might come up with. To begin with, my initial perspective on the "mood" of the painting is in accordance with the prior posts by Tiara St. John (William R. Leigh), and as described by Betsey Hoyt in (The Circle of Life) - that of foreboding darkness, despair, and catastrophic loss.
Viewing Leigh's painting in linear time, I wish to employ the theme of duality mentioned by George Byrnes in (The Circle of life), along with the observations of Christopher Miller and Jason Cheeseman.
George notes that there are two planes represented in the painting, and I view them as "planes of existence". These planes represent a duality of the old that is juxtaposed against the realities of the new, and they "capture" elements of the story. We are presented with a left plane of sagebrush, a skull (possibly that of a buffalo), and the white pony. This is in contrast to the right plane of plowed earth, a brown horse, and the visions in the sky. Caught between the two planes is the Native American.
Christopher Miller suggested that the white horse represents an Indian pony, while its counterpart is more in line with a European draft horse. The white pony is located in the left plane/foreground of sagebrush, while the brown pony is firmly in the plowed field. Miller then notes the symbolic glance of both the white horse and the Native American, both of who appear to be looking at the skull, found in the left plane of existence. This "dual" glance of the man and horse seems to tie them together. To me, the foreground (left) represents the past (skull - the buffalo hunt, native land, and the white Indian pony), while the plowed background (and increasingly solid sky) foretells the inevitable future. A future in which, as possibly the brown draft horse's glance to the right might signify, will hold but fleeting memories of a glorious past.
The native man is caught between the dualities of the past and the present, and is representative of both. One leg is in the plowed field, the other on the sage. Earlier on Jason noticed the combination of clothing that the man is wearing. Half his clothes are traditional (the moccasins, vest, and feathers), while the raged shirt and jeans are modern. He is looking toward the past, while the "rope" around his neck (harness) visually veers to the right - that of plowed, modernity. The leather straps visually guides me toward the brown pony and the plowed field, even as the man's head turns to contemplate his past.
The plow represents a modernizing technology that is ripping the prairie (the ways of old), into the singularity of plowed oneness. The process of tilling the soil (the assimilation of native peoples), transforms the uniqueness of the prairie (individual sage plants, grass, rocks, and at some point the skull) into the uniformity of plowed agriculture. The plow is shredding the Native American's way of living - its spiritual diversity - even its memories - into a homogenous, assimilated (European) form of existence - where not even the skulls of the past will survive. This plowing of the prairie is much like the conquest of the native peoples of the Western Hemisphere. The plow is the technology (weapons and disease) that devastated these indigenous cultures. Is there any doubt that the plow will continue to assimilate the native land to the left?
In my view, the plow will continue its assimilation until the entire prairie (along with the skull) is plowed. Once the skull is tilled into the ground, what will the white pony and man have to remember the past? Maybe the buffalo in the sky? But here again the vision of the bison hunt in the clouds is fleeting from the old to the new, and is firmly in the plane of modernity. As one looks across the plowed field, it almost seems as if the dream images are flowing into the clouds of uniformity - much as the prairie is being plowed (assimilated) into earthen conformity. Will even the memories survive?
My first impressions happened before the class began, as Guy sent me a copy of the painting via e-mail. I had already explored some of Leigh's other works and once I had a look at this one left it at that and busied myself with other courses needing attention.
Thinking I was quite prepared for this section of considering the painting I had time to relax and read the above conversations. It was not long before I realized something was terribly wrong. Were we all talking about the same painting? Did Guy send me the wrong painting??? I opened Christopher's picture to double check and could hardly believe my eyes. It was the same painting all right, but I had "fixed" it in my mind.
During the time since I had first viewed it, I gave the man a younger face to match his physique. Please look at his muscular arms, his height and strong ankles, now look at his face and hair. No, it cannot be possible.
The feathers implied chief-like status so I gave him more - a whole headband more!! I had changed his hair into a headband!
I never saw the plough - who in their right mind would be plowing uphill anyway? Surely the first Monsoon is going to wash all the seeds downhill, and cause devastating erosion. And look at the man's shoes - sheepskin slippers! Who can plough with those on their feet? I had banished the whole Image from my mind, not to mention cliché of the South West. That plow is only going to leave a scratch on the dirt.
Why would a man be plowing as someone already asked- this is a very good question. Men do not do the plowing. The land belongs to the woman's family and it is the mother who plows and tends to the fields.
Thanks to Anjana I saw the images in the clouds and thanks to her, I understand their symbolism. They are obviously his thoughts as he ruefully gazes at the skull, blaming it for the overgrazed, aridness of the land. The Great Basin cannot support cattle and they have had a far greater negative effect on the land than the Buffalo ever did, if they ever came this far South. After the Renaissance, there was a period when higher order thinking and thoughts were displayed by making use of the space and light in the top of the canvas. Leigh was therefore a skilled student of art as someone mentioned in the above discussion.
Leigh painted for an American audience who must have been mesmerized with the tall John Wayne character at the time. Leigh skillfully seeps in the thoughts of Native American discontent, but Leigh remains careful by first catching the eye of the Cowboy, the land and its challenges and then romanticizing images of wildness.
I saw some questions Guy asked earlier, but when I went back to look for them, couldn't find them, so I'll put them here, along with my synthesis. Guy asked us to look at the painting and then at the way it's displayed in the museum on the next page and asked how our perceptions changed. When I first looked at the painting, before all the discussion began, I thought, "well, this is kinda boring, wonder why he picked it." I'd not heard of WR Leigh specifically (may have read about him within his period in history or art history, but didn't remember his name).
Now-my perception has altered drastically. After reading what others were seeing and all the symbolism they were noting, I got excited about it after all. I learned that WR used light and dark, hints of past or dreams (in the clouds-which in itself is symbolic),vs the future (the plow-symbol of technology), the plowed (future) vs arid desert (dead past), skull (past) next to living tissue (horses), and the horses themselves are not only different colors, but different breeds used for different purposes. (Just a side note: I saw Men of Honor last night. The young man's father was plowing, and tho it was a fairly steep ridge, it wasn't nearly as deep as this one!)
Really good movie!
We talked about how WR got his education, how he fit into his "times", why he chose this subject, and the fact that it's different than some of his other work. I don't think I'll look at another painting without going through some of the symbolic journey I enjoyed with this group! Now, as to comparing the paintings on the 2 pages. Seeing the painting by itself makes you concentrate on it-and it's still kinda boring. But seeing it on the wall in context with the other accoutrements lends more importance to it-makes it much more interesting.
And the lesson I learn (relearn) in this thought is that whatever we teach must be done in context. Facts by themselves are boring and basically unmeaningful, but put them within a context, with the right "flavors", and you have enhanced learning to the "nth" degree!
Possibilities & Bias
Thank you. "A thorough view of the POSSIBILITIES"...that is what I was searching for. A small sigh of relief has entered into the game. Eliana and Dr. Bensusan, aside from becoming a mother, this is the most exciting, electrifying life learning I've encountered. I am a perfectionist at the very least, and the model gives me a sense of freedom as well as a sense of responsibility to my students and my children. Considering possibilities, considering biases, considering everything I can consider, will make me that much more effective as a human being.
I know my own biases creep into my teaching and my evaluation of student writing and thinking. In fact, my student teacher and I taught two freshmen classes the same content last semester. We were reading a Native American poem about instructors on a reservation that learned student names but never went beyond to discover their lives. I approached it from one angle, and we asked the students to raise their hands if they agreed with me. They were passionate about supporting my view. Then, in the very next hour, she taught the information from an opposite viewpoint, asking the students if they agreed with her. They entertained her point-of-view with fervor. The next day, we discussed the lesson and cautioned them to challenge what is being presented. We told them they had to compose their own ideas. It was frightening. I realized that I had been teaching all of the pieces I was passionate about, infusing all of my passion, and reaching students' hearts and minds. After the experiment, I learned that they learned only one point-of-view, mine. I must lead them to their own understanding. I think this class, taken as an elective because I thought it would enhance my teaching of world literature, will be most valuable in multi-faceted realms of my life. It is an epiphany of sorts. I apologize for sounding like a cheerleader for team "H", but I truly am altered.
I Have Learned & Semi Final Thoughts
Hello Jason, Guy, and everyone!
I totally concur with Jason's re-posting of a piece of mine (a few threads up under system). In fact, I will share another apparent weakness in my approach to internet navigation, and that is timing. It was not until Mohammed got my attention -"his assertion that his name carries more impact in this course than his character", that I went searching for other posts by Mohammed, and this brought me to this section - where I discovered the wonderful "reflections" thread. I was on it by the evening of the 26th, but most had responded by that time, and I concurred that our community was strong enough to neutralize any "potential" threat posed by Mohammed's "blonde" initiative to Taira. I also remembered Taira noting that sometimes in therapy sessions she makes "hay" out of her client's sexist remarks, and I thought that possibly Mohammed was - in addressing Taira in that fashion, attempting to utilize a similar technique - to enhance/ foster the conversation. Now onto the timing of evaluating the process.
I am fascinated with the process and have felt, up until now, that it was not time to consider an evaluation of what we "had" done, because we were still doing it. As has been discussed in numerous other locations, by authors as diverse as Taira, Bill, and Betsey - it is nice to have the "freedom" to roam the range - and maybe I would have enjoyed that "freedom" more had I possessed a better understanding of the tools. But then again, I read your piece under frequently asked questions (Guy and you describing how not to miss posts), and yet still "failed" to venture into this final realm of evaluation. That is, I was aware that new posts were being made, but continued to "roam" and respond to the earlier levels of the consideration ladder.
The freedom to freely explore is terrific, and in reflecting back on the experience I can see how there is a flow to the progression - and I regret not chiming in on the "reflections" thread during the heat of its creation. There is something to "navigating" the system - locating where the current "hot" topics are, and getting in on the action. There is also something to be said for the process itself, and the timeline.
This brings me back to the freedom issue, and how we should possess a commonality in focus along with the ability to freely roam. Jason wrote: " Therefore, it is useful to provide a tutorial, as well as a space for students to share their tips and tricks from discoveries not shown in the tutorial." Totally agree, and would add that maybe the process should be addressed as well. One aspect of the process might include a discussion covering the approximate "jump" dates from consider to consider - something that was first addressed by Guy and Betsey about whether we should be moving into the (a) next section or not (from consider the components and techniques to consider the painter)? This topic has come up numerous times, and I guess now that I feel more comfortable with Webboard, I have less of an issue with my peers willingness to evaluate the process from the beginning - no offense to either Nick or Bill. I just felt (a month ago) that it was a little soon to begin venturing to the final sections of "Visio s" - even contemplating going there was beyond my personal limit, my line in the sand - for there was so much to write about, learn, and explore in reference to the painting, and about one another. Then the question arose: "how can one evaluate a work in progress?"
Well, you can - as is becoming increasingly obvious to me as I venture from introductions to conclusions, and notice new posts in "familiar" categories. I respect the innovation of the front runners - the willingness to beginning evaluating the process form the beginning, and remember a conversation between Guy and Taira regarding the "completing the process is two to three weeks - with "advanced' peer participants. My response is of course biased, for I have enjoyed this process immensely, and will dream that a "Visions2" is in the works! But to the timing issue, it also takes experiencing the system, living it, to being seeing the circularity of the consider and evaluation levels in action (the process).
Now, maybe this piece has more to do with me, and understanding who I am, then the system or the process. But I definitely feel the functionality of the hexadigm "playing" on my senses, revising some of my initial beliefs (why are we already evaluating the course - beginning of April), has changed to a clearer understanding of the potential benefits offered by the "free roam" process.
Thus, as a suggestion, I would build on Jason's posting discussing the various "tricks" of the system, to include a phrase or two on the philosophy of the "free range approach" offered by Webboard. I would also incorporate Guy's concept of a "resource" section - creating a triad of a discussion regarding the system, the process, and the web based resources available for creating a common frame of reference. Mohammed noted: "Thank you very much for the Museum Guide, I have just received it yesterday (smile). Now you can see how I missed most of the course: poor language, bad server, different culture, zero background about Indians and American artists. These are some assumptions you (and I) neglected before the course."
Collecting a Leigh-biographical data base section, along with some information about where the painting is hosted (housed) - Woolaroc - might have alleviated some of Mohammed's feelings of "missing out". Linda Fox noted that it would have been nice to have had more web based information concerning Leigh's life, and I know that from the online conversations I learned numerous aspects about the history of the Native American's (Betsey, Jason, and Ann's statistics), about art history from Mohammed, Jason, Betsey, Linda Fox and Linda Stone, and about the whole process from everyone!
Thus, it should not be the "goal" of an introduction section to "frame" the whole course in advance. That would negate the free flow of creative learning that is so wonderfully encouraged by this form of peer to peer interaction. The hexadigm provides an excellent "grounding" for the process, and maybe some additional internet sources (synopses) in the beginning of a consider section might be helpful. Helpful in addressing Mohammed's background issues in reference to Native Americans. But then again, the process itself answered most of these questions. Betsey and Linda Stone provided great links to Native American sites, and there were "hosts" of art URL's that pop in and out of the various threads.
Maybe the creation of a web-based section dedicated to the triad of systems, processes, and information would be of use from the beginning of such an endeavor, and could be added to throughout the experience. One "major" step in this direction was the willingness of the Woolaroc Museum to allow the usage of the image files ("Visions of Yesterday" and the upper gallery at Woolaroc. This provided common reference points to the participants who experienced difficulty in receiving their museum guides (international mailing procedures, distance, varying postal requirements), and also added a "completeness" to the course outline that was useful to those who possessed access to the Woolaroc material. Participant observations on the system, the process, and some historical insight might be useful from the beginning, such as a few posts by those familiar with the Webboard structure, and the usual "flow" of web based courses. Of course, as this experience has shown me, no amount of preparation can (or should) "fully" prepare the online learner for the dynamics that peer to peer, international, multicultural, interaction presents. There are simply too many variables that come into play, and it is the actual interaction between participants that enrich our global community, our individual lives, and the learning experience itself - academia!
Linda Fox - Thursday, May 03, 2001 11:00 PM
I've been working through this part in my head, on paper, and word processor to come up with conclusions. Every day, I come up with something different. At first, like Jason, I wanted to focus on the painting, and the style. Then I thought about Leigh contradicting himself by painting Indians as representing the individuality of the primitive man. Sort of an oxymoron. Then, I thought about Leigh and Guy, similarities and differences in career and beliefs. Gifted, stubborn, clinging to the old ways or looking forward to the new.)
In reading Jason's conclusions, he mentioned activism. "Where I would hope a class like this would lead people is to activism." Then it occurred to me that this IS about activism, but not necessarily aimed at Native Americans. Guy is selling a product by allowing it to sell itself (or recruit us to sell it for him.) Is this where we get to guess why Guy chose this particular work by this particular artist? This is the Allegory of the Relatively Obscure Painting. I think he chose it because it represents traditional teaching. Beautifully rendered with everything he learned in art school, Leigh tells us, clearly and blatantly the message that he wants to get across.
Did anyone else notice that as we were trying to interpret the painting, the artist's intent, and reading additional meaning into it, that this was the ONLY tangent where Guy tried to discourage us and reign us back? Modern Art was more popular in Leigh's time.
People were excited by the idea of interpreting the meaning of what they saw. What they were able to read into a painting is what they were able to bring to it themselves and what the dealer, artist, or gallery provided for them in addition. They taught themselves what it meant. Unfortunately, because it took some training to educate people how to look at Modern Art, there were many who remained untrained or refused to become more educated. In their minds, it was radical rubbish with obscure meanings or completely meaningless altogether. (Leigh as a prime example) These people were left out of an enriching and wonderful process and didn't realize it. (Leigh did not get the recognition as an artist that he had wanted so badly.) Eventually, as a reaction to this new and unfamiliar type of art, the pendulum swung back in Leigh's favor to the more traditional and romantic art. And, fortunately for him, he lived long enough to enjoy it.
This is the part that I wonder about. What will happen if online facilitated learning isn't researched enough? There are already charter schools that are very popular because of their return to the three R's after years of experimentation in other directions. I can see this as a wonderful type of culminary class at the end of a master's program. I can see it used in addition to other types of learning. As a parent of soon-to-be young college students, I have to consider what I am willing to pay a school to do for my children. You have to sell me, the consumer, on the product, not necessarily the manufacturer or the retailer.
Here's something I didn't share about myself. I am an advocate for organ donation. My 5 year-old son had a heart transplant at 20 days old. Out of necessity, I learned very quickly about the heart, hospitals, nurses, doctors, medications, and the desperate need for organ donations. I was so blessed by having a heart given to my son, and want it so much for so many other families. The demand is so high and the supply of donations so low.
Why? Tradition, superstition, (not necessarily religious belief, as all major religions, but Gypsies support it) and the lack of education. It seems like such a repulsive concept to many people. They just don't realize the need, or the joy that it can bring to a family in the midst of their grief when they have lost a loved one to bring life to someone else. They have all kinds of misconceptions. Once they understand, most are willing to consider it, some become advocates, and some cling to their old ideas and feelings, and refuse to change. If we can teach young children, i ky as it is, they will grow up with the idea that it is the right thing to do and the education takes away their fear. But we have to start with a willingness on the part of the parents to support it.
The same goes for any type of education. You have to educate the parents and be able to sell them on the idea. Be able to prove that it works. Parents don't like to have teachers and schools experiment on their children. Their lives and their time is too precious to be wasted if it doesn't work.
Did I do good?
Joan Oakes - Friday, May 04, 2001 02:54 PM
As a collection of students, it seems that we came to this experience with an incredible variety in backgrounds and motivations for participating. Some came to investigate this particular web course format. Some came with a genuine desire to learn more about the basic topic areas. Some had already participated in Guy's web experiences - and wanted more!
It was my belief that as participants moved through discussion threads and from one conference to the next, that we would come to some common approach and understanding. This seemed to occur - but on a smaller, more sectional basis. Small groups would come to agreement in some conferences on a particular thread, but re-group in the next. This is not necessarily a bad thing...but I found it quite challenging to follow the threads - topics often changing mid-stream - to discover what the course direction and process actually was.
There was some wonderful information gathering and sharing! There was a wealth of info - cyberspace, locations for hard copy, and human experience that was made available. I couldn't imagine this happening in most classes without direct instruction and requirements to do so!
My purpose for joining this illustrious group was to learn about this format of web course and consider if it would be usable for a class I teach. I was a late comer to the group, and spent much of my initial time just reading and learning how to move between topics - wading through topic after topic. It felt as if it took an inordinate amount of time just to figure out what was going on - but I was impressed with the information and knowledge being shared!
I made a commitment to myself that I would read all posts and contribute to each conference section in some way. Given my beginning level of ignorance (related to topics and format) and lack of time to immerse myself in the process, I'm not sure I have gotten as much out of this has I could have. I am grateful to those who have shared, commented, and provided me with information that moved me from "total novice" to (at least) "beginner".
Just a short preface...
I am feeling ill-equipped to "evaluate" this process, since I have no background and little experience (participation here being my ONLY web course) from which to draw. (Anyone else feeling this way?) However, I thought I'd share a couple of issues/suggestions/questions from the viewpoint of a web-course-beginner:
1) It would have been beneficial to have had information related to course format and expectations prior to my actual involvement.
2) I struggled to keep track of topics, who was saying what, and wondering if I was on track with my posts. Again - more prior info. would have been helpful - but what about a course specifically for "Beginners".
3) The ability to learn according to personal schedules and asynchronous responses provides a whole host of benefits to its participants. HOWEVER - as a person who has been immersed in helping people improve their interpersonal communication skills on an individual or collective basis... I would ask - Is it possible to build in an actual, real-time, (gad...dare I say it...) F2F component on an intermittent basis? I believe there are times when we need to practice our human as well as cyber communication skills.
4) Just as we need to provide alternative formats for correspondence (e.g. phone, FAX, email, TDD) for individuals with various disabilities - Is there a way to make this available to those for whom printed word is not an effective way to communicate? Perhaps provide info. related to assistive technology that can be used for accommodation? - or PROVIDE the A.T. (perhaps at low cost)?
5) There are many eager learners across the country who do not have the hardware, adequate software, or availability of the internet. Quality learning experiences of this type should not be available only to an exclusive club that have dependable computers and internet.
Sharon L Conry - Sat Jun 09, 2001 09:20
I found this to be a very interesting assignment. The anonymity that the web provides has allowed me, a typically quiet student, to speak out more than I normally would in a class room situation. I am sure this is true for others as well, and I have really enjoyed reading the various comments and interpretations of the hexadigm. There are a few new points I would like to comment on. As with many of you, I am really encouraged to know that there are other people who wish to think "out-side of the box" (including a professor). I think it's fascinating to see the way individuals have rallied around, and tackled this new idea. However, I do think it is crucial for people outside the academic community to do the same. It appears to me that a common American mentality of today deals with the notion of change. In our fast paced technology driven global world, we embrace what we believe to be the essence of our society: change. As a culture we are constantly talking about it, even now the hexadigm model is confronting it. To me there is a flaw in our drive for change; many today see change as a product, not as a process. It is going to take a long time for the mind set that this nation was created on to change. I think most people are scared, for whatever numerous reasons, when it comes to exploring cultural differences in a new light. I think many average Americans would even be frightened away by the title "hexadigm" and never fully explore its potential. This class, I feel, will be an important step on my educational path, but more than that, I think it will introduce more people to a different way of thinking that could eventually benefit society as a whole.
Sarah Williams Hall - Sat Jun 09, 2001 12:19
So, we have a desk in class and a computer (typically) at home. Comparing them, I see that both have the same opportunities in several different areas. Both allow the participant to offer their opinions and understandings, both give the opportunity to share. So here are the differences I can see right off:
Sorry if that's hard to read (hard to set this up the way I was writing it out on paper!). In any case, I see how using the computer as a tool helps to make our class more of a community rather than a division of people who are constantly talking and people who are fairly silent in a classroom.
In addition, my desire to see people face-to-face is not only a notion of traditional schooling, but is also my own opportunity to make snap judgments on people. It allows me to write people off as snobs, idiots, a kiss-up (which I will say is still evident in writing!), someone to befriend, someone who is intimidating, etc.
It allows me to remain in my own little world without having to give anyone else any kind of credit. I can stay where I have always been and write people off as I choose based on outward appearances. Doing so says that I would rather stay where I am rather than explore new territory. The only new territory I wish to explore are things that I haven't done yet, but are still safe in my mind.
Even though body language is not something that can be read over internet lines, one's personality and beliefs, the spirit of them comes through no matter what. It may take longer to get to know someone, and things may be read not as the writer intended, but that's the case even with literature. But the essence of a person is still something that can be seen on a computer screen.
PLUS, there's more of a chance of a person being vulnerable with others via computer. I can say what I want because I don't fear retaliation. Someone may something back to me in another post, but I have the choice to read it or not. In a class, there's always a chance that someone will berate me in front of others or talk down to me, and there could always be retaliation of my person or belongings. And that can work either way.
Allyson Knanishu - Fri Jun 15, 2001 15:26
Regurgitation. Such an awful sounding word with perhaps an equally awful meaning. We have regurgitated knowledge time and time again. We are supposed to read these questions and assignments and think for ourselves? What a scary concept? Can we actually do this? My two humanities with Dr. Bensusan are the only one's in my entire life and college career (I graduate in August with 123 hours) that have asked me to do such "crazy" concepts. Think for myself, respond to my ideas, read others, offer opinions, grow in my writing and understanding, and I'm right??? Yes, I believe we have not really been able to formulate our own ideas. I feel awkward and like I'm doing something wrong when creating my responses, like any minute someone's going to walk around the corner and start yelling at me. Perhaps Jose was confused as well. He knew what he was doing was wrong, he was taught morals from his family, right from wrong. Yet, he made the decision to step out of his box and try something new and daring. While he found it exciting, scary, hopeless, wrong, he continued to act in the same manner. The popular arts are a part of history as well. They have been shaped and molded by a variety of different factors. People were pre-conditioned by society to respond to the "appropriate" arts for them. But they secretly branched out to "lesser" amusements like baseball and boxing.
They were taught that they were of higher status and were not supposed to enjoy such things. Jose was of a noble status in his heart and Carmen, boy was she ever from the wrong side of the tracks in his standards. Yet, he was able to throw out the concept of pre-conditioning and what was acceptable for his class and follows his heart (or perhaps Carmen's manipulative ways). A book is a fascinating thing. The whole world stops (if it's a good book), you are stuck in your reading, you are absorbed in the setting and with the characters, you are fighting for certain characters to conquer whatever needs conquering, you wish secretly that perhaps you were these characters, that this story could actually take place and you would be a part of it, you are thinking all on your own. The story offered me to lose track of time and get into the story. I was fighting for Jose to leave Carmen, to realize she was the devil that he would be absolved of all his sins, that he would walk away from her and she would come crawling back on her knees. I picture dirt and sand and heat. I picture busy market places crowded with people packed in like flies. With a movie I would be able to none of these things. With an opera I would be able to do none of these things. Our own interpretations, perhaps with pre-conditioned ideas, are what make the story of Carmen exciting and different to us. What is unique about Merimee's story is that he's leading us to nowhere. He successfully makes the readers think for themselves. He lets our imaginations take us where we want to go. He lets us picture what Carmen looks like.
He lets us picture her wicked smile and Jose's confusion in his eyes. Am I going to run out and become Carmen? No, but some girls might pick up a thing or two. Are the men that are in psychologically abusive relationships going to pack up and run away from their own Carmen? Probably not, but it would be nice if a few did. People can pattern their lives after such a story if they wanted too. The fashion from the arts is something few people can ignore. What are the movies playing portraying women in? Flared jeans, halter tops, hair layered, fake nails, slim, fit. Are millions of women portraying this image of the screen as well? You bet! Are we learning that perhaps not all of us are going to fit into those hip-hugger jeans but yet take drastic measures to fit into those pants? Are we going to look back at this period of time and say to ourselves, well perhaps I shouldn't have been so extreme with my body? Are men going to go kill aliens because Arnold Schwarzenager does? But are they going to try and achieve the muscular build and looks? The arts interpret every facet of our lives, not just fashion. And then yes, the arts will interpret that too. We learn from everything. Perhaps we are learning to throw those pre-conditioned ideas out the window. Wouldn't that be interesting to see fifty NAU students taking charge of their own thoughts? Would it make a difference on campus? Many things in this world shape our beliefs and understandings. Books, movies, ballets, operas, teachers, society will continue its cyclical process in shaping the mind of the world.
Patrick Prag - Sat Jun 16, 2001 11:42
I think the most important thing that I have learned from this week of writing and reading everyone else's posts is that we know a lot more than we think about culture and history. Even without researching, most people putting up their outlines did an excellent job and were able to critically think through their assignment. The other thing that I have learned from this exercise is that not only are cultures interwoven in their formation, but they also overlap in what happens in them. I know that's really awkward but I can't think of any other way to say it. What I mean is that my knowledge may not be sufficient in Mexican culture and history to make a direct example of how modernizing technology or something else affects Mexican culture, but by using my knowledge from other cultures I can draw almost direct correlations between the two cultures. Things that happen in one culture generally happen throughout others also.
Ashley D Remm - Sat Jun 16, 2001 10:29
I have learned that so many people have so many different interests. When I first started this assignment I had no clue how to do it, but when I took my best shot I started to realize what this assignment was supposed to show us and it became very interesting for me to go through each step and see how one category of life changed so much through each of the steps in the hexadigm. I was amazed when I read everyone else's postings with different categories. There are so many things that you can pull through the loops and unless you start the assignment you can't really imagine how different everything has become. Mentally, I went through all of the categories and put them through the loops and I found that everything has changed and has it's own history. There are so many other things that can be pulled through the loops as well and there is a wealth of knowledge to have when we pull these things through the hexadigm. I have to admit when I first started this assignment I could not figure out how this mattered but after going through it I found myself wanting to mentally pull more and more through to see how far I could get and how much I could learn. I also learned through this assignment how much each of us helps each other in ways that we sometimes don't realize. We each have given so much to each other that we have learned through the assignments, readings and each other how these things work. It wouldn't be enough to read my own paper but when I read everyone else's work I get a lot more out of the assignment, more than I would working on it on my own.
Hey Lisa! Glad I could reassure you. Like Dr.G says we are working backwards. We are asking the questions that we would like to have answered first, and finding out how much we already know, before we research. Maybe what we already know we will find to be biased when we follow the hexadigm! Or maybe we will find bias in our research! (when the time comes) Jean
I like the computer too, but I love my Rez, too. There is still the sweat lodge if you want to wear a breech cloth. We have had a lot of people, even medical doctors visit our Sweatlodge. They want that spirituality we have, that next to Nature. Things are nice, but nature is still real and our people should not get lost in the hustle and bustle of the rapid pace: they will loose some of their perspective. I'm saying that because I have to go get lost, travel to end up back in my hogan appreciating it like my Dad said, I one day, would. Weird. The more we know it seems the less we know... but that is why I am always confused, I ask too many questions. The Rez Rat Pris Kanaswood. Glad to know you.
Thanks for the feedback and encouraging remarks! It's kind of surprising to say this, but I can't recall any professors throughout my college career giving any feedback (positive or negative)…that's strange (may be just an engineering thing??)…I'm reading your article "No two swimmers float alike" and it seems to be really interesting, relating to positive encouragement-but of course you know that :)
I never thought I'd say this, but cheerleading is sometimes ok. :)
I am doing my project on sky lore--stories about the why's. I am still working through my initial outline (to use the term loosely). I could use some input from you on it--we seem to have the same wavelength going on.