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Clearly Something’s Wrong Here

by on August 13, 2011

The following was from an article I read today (full article found at

Higher Education and the New Media Reality

  • By John K. Waters 07/28/11

As a cultural anthropologist and researcher in the modern discipline of digital ethnography, Michael Wesch likes to ask the big, complex questions: How do we find meaning and significance in the digital age? How is technology affecting society and culture? How are social media changing teaching and learning practices? But as a teacher, an associate professor of cultural anthropology at Kansas State University, he likes to ask his students one small, simple question at the start of each year.

“I ask, How many of you do not actually like school?” he said. “Almost invariably almost half raise their hands. Then I vary the question slightly. I ask, How many of you do not like learning? And I get no hands. These are people who like learning, but they don’t like it to be institutionally created for them. Clearly something’s wrong here.”


After reading this article and participating in several discussions related to assessment this week, it reinforces my opinion that we need to rethink and retool a few things.  As Wesch says, students want to learn, but what are the barriers in our institutions processes, policies, procedures, structures, and cultures that prevent this from happening?  How do we create authentic assessments that will engage students at a level where the learning is primary and the grade is an afterthought? Wesch and others are leading the way in this area, and it will be helpful to learn from other trailblazers when building and redesigning my online courses.




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