Assignments for 590IBL

Moodle is set up to receive postings of assignments for 590IBL. If you’re working in a group, you need to upload it just once, but do indicate who is in the group. This will apply to Ask, Create, and Reflect. Investigate is done just through the forum postings and Discuss will be the in-class oral presentations and discussion.

  • Investigate: Post on the Moodle Open Discussion forum responses to Parts 1, 2, and 3 of the Hansen book, Ethical visions of education: Philosophies in practice. Discuss how these ideas connect with your own project, teaching, academic program, or life. (Moodle posts during each of weeks 1, 2, & 3, by February 1, 8, & 15).Discussion of the readings should continue throughout the semester, but may be done in particular ways due to the other students’ inquiry units, and the other specific assignments.

  • Ask: Write about a learning challenge that you would like to address. Post in the Projects forum or in the special forum for your group project. This is basically to lay out what you’re planning to accomplish. For groups, this can be a single post or document, although everyone in the group should contribute and the proposal would naturally be larger than for someone working alone. (week 5, February 22)

  • Create: Design an inquiry activity (including background readings) to address that challenge. (week 8, March 15)

  • Discuss: Lead the inquiry activity and then a discussion with the class about it. Larger groups will be allocated two weeks to allow more time for everyone in the group to participate and to accommodate what are likely to be more diverse projects.

    Let’s approach all of the units in an open, experimental manner. As Lucy Sprague Mitchell (of Bank Street College) says,

    Our aim is to help students develop a scientific attitude towards their work and toward life. To us this means an attitude of eager, alert observations, a constant questioning of old procedure in the light of new observations; and use of the world as well as of books and source materials; an experimental open-mindedness; and an effort to … base the future upon actual knowledge of the experiences of the past.” (in Antler, 1987, p. 309)

    The implication for us is not to seek a perfectly designed unit, but simply one that engages us in thinking about inquiry in that area. For the leaders this means to share the experience of your own inquiry and not to worry about the rough edges. If you’re in a group project, this roughness may include coordination among the group. I expect that some may have a fully unified activity whereas others may appear more as a loose confederation. That’s perfectly fine and a typical part of an open inquiry process.

    In some cases, the unit creators may ask us to do some additional pre- or post-activity. I hope that you’ll respond to those in the spirit of helping fellow members of our community of inquiry. This is especially the case for those LEEP two-credit hour participants, who won’t be able to present their units synchronously. They’d really appreciate your feedback.

    No one (including me) is looking for a finely polished and completed inquiry activity. It’s about opening up the topic, not covering it. For the other participants, this means interacting in the same open manner, and helping us manage together any complications arising from format or location. I’m hoping you’ll find the units to be engaging, memorable, and useful for your own inquiries beyond the class. (weeks 7-13)

  • Reflect: Consider the readings, the various assignments, the discussions, the readings. Can you bring those experiences into a unified whole? Or if not, where are the challenges to that, the remaining “felt difficulties” for you?

    Reflection is usually described as process of looking back to prior experiences. But making sense of experiences is what allows us to have enlarged experiences in the future. Using what you’ve learned, include a plan for going forward. This plan could emphasize your own learning or your work outside of class.

    Note that this is not a reflection on the course, but on your own learning, which may have gone well beyond the course boundaries. I’m interested in your response to the course per se, but that can come through the ICES survey or other means.

    The product can be in the form of a paper, a video, a website, a map, or other media. This is ordinarily an assignment to be done individually, but you may also choose to do it with a group. (week 14, May 3)

Each of the five assignments should be viewed as the equivalent of a 1500 word essay, and each is worth 20 points.


Antler, J. (1987). Lucy Sprague Mitchell: The making of a modern woman. New Haven: Yale University Press.

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