Readings for Seminar Meetings

For 4/8

Kuh, George D. “High-Impact Educational Practices: What They Are, Who Has Access to Them, and Why They Matter”

Bean, John C., Engaging Ideas. Review chapters 5 and 6; read chapter 7, p. 123, 128, 130-132; dip into chapters 7 – 10 and find a few pages particularly relevant to your course (difficult texts, small groups, etc.)


For 4/1

Jane Jacobs Ch 3 and Ch 9 from The Death and Life of Great American Cities

Jane Jacobs-last page of Ch 9

Campus Without Boundaries: The Brooklyn GreenWalk by Monica Berger, Reggie Blake, Anne Leonard, Robin Michals, Mark Noonan, Susan Phillip, and Peter Spellane

For 3/25

from Justin and Jonas: “Reading Assignment
Just a reminder of the reading assignment for our meeting 3/25/11:
Select one of the ‘five minds’ and read that one chapter in depth, choose one point that you found most valuable and be prepared to share with the group.”

For 3/11

John Bean, Engaging Ideas, Chapters 5 and 6, with particular attention paid to pgs. 75-80, 104-117.

If you would like more background on his approach stressing the connections between writing and critical thinking,see Chapter 2, pgs. 15-20, 26-29.

Please feel free to browse other portions of this very useful book as well and share pages that you think would be beneficial for your colleagues to read.

For 2/18

Entries in your annotated bibliography, plus another article that another fellow has added.

For 2/11

Dean Edelstein, “Lost in the Middle” in Inside Higher Ed (January 21, 2011): Excerpted from Views: Lost in the Middle – Inside Higher Ed

Gregory C. Wolniak, Tricia A. Seifert, and Charles F. Blaich, “A Liberal Arts Education Changes Lives,” Liberal Arts Online (March 2004)

For 2/4

Jeannette M. Wing: Computational Thinking

Judith Summerfield: “TheProject” in Reclaiming the Public University: Conversations on General & Liberal Education (2007)

For 1/28

Richard Feynman: “Surely You’re Joking Mr. Feynman!”: Adventures of a Curious Character (1985)

11 Responses to Readings for Seminar Meetings

  1. Pingback: A Living Laboratory: General Education Seminars at City Tech » Summerfield reading

  2. The Public University: Conversations on General & Liberal Education – Judith Summerfield & Crystal Benedicks (2007)
    I am very grateful for having the opportunity to read this and to understand the background of the CUNY system. It is a foundational resource necessary for further investigation of general education and liberal education. The complexity of the project is clear and very interesting but as I read along, my mind wandered to the uniqueness of City Tech’s duel role as a senior college and a college granting both associate and applied associate degree programs. I would be interested in investigating the gen ed focus in some of the community colleges. I am curious, are they offered as traditional gen ed courses to fulfill pre-requisites or have learning communities developed in any of them that focuses on acquiring a breadth of knowledge in the desired fields of study.

  3. Lost in the Middle – Dean Edelstein (Jan 21, 2011)

    While reading this article I was ‘reading between the lines’, attempting to interpret and apply the message of these readings to the rigid course requirements of the associate degree programs (mine being dental hygiene). Students pursuing associate degrees have no choses; they buy into their educational program or leave. They enter the college in pursuit of a job, whatever courses they need to pass to get into the program they take. They then take the courses that will get the license and ultimately the job, this is their only concern. Credits requirements for graduation cannot be added to or subtracted from furthering challenging the incorporation of a more liberal educational experience. I feel strongly that these students need to acquire a broader cross-disciplinary “literacy’ as Edelstein suggests, and that collaborative teamwork, interdepartmental teaching among faculty in the Gen Ed prerequisite courses such as English, Sociology, Psychology and Speech is the way to do it. The acquisition of a breadth of knowledge, regardless to what extent, for a specific career oriented associates degree cannot be attained using tradition approaches to Gen Ed required courses but by synthesizing different forms and genres of information within a learning community.

  4. Shelley says:

    Jeannette Wing’s “Computational Thinking” is challenging. Her long list of “computational thinking is ____” statements left me wondering, “what kind of thinking is NOT ‘computational’?” and “what is the difference between ‘computational thinking’ and ‘critical thinking’?” To the latter I would say these concepts are closely related. Perhaps ‘computational thinking’ is a subset of ‘critical thinking.’ What I do find compelling is the idea that we can learn many concrete strategies and principles from computer science–for the design of complex systems, problem solving and data analysis–and that these strategies can be applied in any field. I think back on a lesson learned from an undergraduate computer programing course at Cornell in the 1970s (using punch cards . . . remember Feynman?), that the computer will not tolerate a single tiny mistake. If ‘computational thinking’ in this sense were more widely applied to complex problems (and to daily life) and more widely taught, could we free ourselves from much fuzzy thinking, bureaucratic waste, and human folly? Can we apply computational thinking in our own fields and classrooms to insist on intellectual rigor and precision? Does this challenge our ideas of a gentle classroom in which all voices are legitimate, all viewpoints valid?

    • Shelley,
      I would actually consider the computational thinking as a subset of analytical and not critical thinking. Even though the two go hand in hand there is a clear demarcation between them:

      Critical thinking is reasonable reflective thinking focused on deciding what to believe or do. It is the active systematic process of understanding and evaluating arguments. It’s a conscious and deliberate process which is used to interpret or evaluate information and experiences with a set of reflective attitudes and abilities that guide thoughtful, beliefs and actions.

      Analytical thinking is a methodical step by step approach to break down complex problems or processes to their constituent parts, identify causes and effects pattern and analyze problems to arrive at an appropriate solution. Analytical thinking is powerful. It is focused, sharp, linear, deals with one thing at a time. This works best where there are established criteria for analysis like in computational thinking where models have to be developed based on step by step approaches.

      This blog is a pretty good one discussing this topic

  5. My views about “Views : Lost in the middle” .

    I would start by making clear that the paper is focusing on the general education in the humanities with a very brief remark on science on the second page. While I am not a professional in the humanities I still believe I could make some comments around the ideas conveyed by the author throughout the paper. There are good things and bad things to say about this paper… In my opinion the author’s statements are not always valid! On the second page of the paper even thou Mr. Edelstein acknowledges the value in specializing in a field of interest, he considers that it might be in the students’ advantage to have a “broader and a less discipline-focused foundation for their future lives”. In my opinion this idea is completely wrong. By definition, the college is the place where you become a professional, where you specialize in a field. I remember once I was debating with my father if undergraduate school should be something everyone should consider and I remember my father telling me something that still makes and impression on me: “not everyone is meant to go to university”. You need to have an aspiration (a goal) to pursue a degree in any field not just get a “broader” (I would rather say SUPERFICIAL) education which should be achieved in K-12.
    In my view one solution to the lack of general education (which I shall define later from the engineering point of view) is really increasing the number of credits. The number of years in any university in my country used to be 5 and not 4, but I hardly believe this would be considered as an option in the present US educational system.
    I am going now to make a positive remark about one of the author’s proposals on page 3. There the author is suggesting that a good option for reconfiguring the curriculum (such that it is incorporating more general education components) would be to team up professors with specializations in different fields to teach the same course. From my personal experience this works extremely well.
    I had been one of the lucky students who took in a Earth Remote Sensing and Space Surveillance course in which 7 of the best professors (digital image processing, optics, semiconductors, mechanical etc) at CCNY and scientists at Northrop Grumman teamed up to teach one of the best courses I have taken. It was a great experience and I think this type of courses should be offered more often. Therefore general education is merely writing and basic math and physics but rather History of Art, Cultures and Civilizations etc. In addition to these for example for an electrical engineer you should also consider civil, computer, mechanical, chemical, aeronautical and any other type of engineering as general education and try to bring a little bit of each into the curriculum.
    I would also like to comment on a statement the author is making on page five of the article. Mr. Edelstien says there:” Other incentives could be found to encourage students to take more than the bare minimum of courses: completion of additional courses could lead to some sort of certification, or could form part of an honors program”. The question here is: which students are you targeting? The 2-3% of the top students in the college? I have to be subjective here: the majority of our student body cannot afford taking a class that is not covered by financial aid. We have at least 100 students who are homeless, most of our students (of which many are full time students) have full time jobs and a family they have to provide for. These students would never take these courses for reasons as: lack of money, lack of time and so on. I believe these issues have to be thought of very carefully and a solution to this problem should address major changes in both K-12 education (as Feynman was suggesting too) as well as university.

  6. Jonas Reitz says:

    Is there a central location in which our current assignments (readings, etc) are posted? If not, could I suggest that this would be a good addition to the permanent links at the top of the page (or perhaps integrate it into this page)? I was wondering what we were meant to complete by yesterday 3/4 and by next friday 3/11, and I couldn’t find this information.


  7. Pingback: Readings for April 8 – Kuh and Bean | A Living Laboratory: General Education Seminars at City Tech

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