The Last Week of Class

On Monday I was taught by Grace on how to use AirTable for further analysis.  I was really only familiar with using it to fill out forms, so it was interesting to see the other applications associated with this program.  On Wednesday we had a very in-depth conversation about the philosophy of grading.  At my table we ended up discussing a range of topics surrounding grading.  I mentioned a conversation I was a part of last month where we discussed how early the pressure of grades start, and how moving away from a system of grades could be beneficial.  I also mentioned that what we’re taught is the path to success is kind of a lie.  I read an article (I believe this is the right one.  At minimum I believe it cites the same study) semi-recently that looked at valedictorians and where they end up in life.  The results indicated that those that succeed in high school are those that conform and follow the rules, but these traits don’t lend themselves to the greatest success.  However, my table pointed out that grades can be important.  You probably don’t want to have a brain surgeon that simply “tried his/her best” at neuroanatomy.  You want someone that demonstrated a certain amount of retention of knowledge, which can be measured in a test.  But for more artistic and humanistic disciplines, grades are less clear cut because there are less black and white, right and wrong answers.  In these more subjective fields, grades and pure knowledge may be less important, and personal development may be more favored.  We also discussed how one could see grades as a measure of growth, or as more of a bell curve to compare your work to a larger population.

Finally, on Friday, we discussed the class format itself.  I personally felt that a lot of my progress and growth came from the final project, where we could explore an interest of our choosing to push ourselves.  I also really appreciated our digital culture discussions throughout the semester.  These helped us to see the “big picture” with regards to what we were working on, making our work more relevant.  It also sounded like a lot of individuals struggled with the computer programming section of the class, and a lot of discussion revolved around how best to format things to encourage individual personalized progress while maintaining accountability and motivation.

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