A Misunderstanding about values

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In class this past Friday we had a class discussion about disconnects in our higher education system. We found that the main problems stem from the fact that each effected party has different priorities or values.

Administration

Students                                                                                                  Program Areas

Professors

 *Notice the fact that they are in an “almost circle” because not one of the four groups are any more important than the others.
Administrations main values include:

  • Quantification of learning, which in simpler terms means assessing learning by numbers or percentages.

Students have the most diverse range of values including:

  • Friends/Family
  • Free time
  • Romantic relationships
  • Education
  • Money/Jobs
  • Sleep
  • Animals
  • Etc.

Professor’s main values include:

  • Initiative
  • Personal responsibility for education
  • Self-assessment

Program area values differs between each different program, but in our class we used the writing program as an example:

  • Engagement
  • “Making Knowledge”
  • The ability to form an argument
  • Use of evidence
  • Responding with a rebuttal
  • And qualifying original claims

Is there a conflict within these values? Yes there is!

Mike brings up the point that student’s interests are spread much more wide then the other 3 groups. There are a lot more things to spread a person’s time than purely the school work aspect. To which Caitlin responds with the idea that “there could also be an internal conflict in students.” Whether that be in the student body as a whole, everyone is different and has a different amount of time and interest to spend on each task, or the batter could be within a single student. A battle of self-restraint, and being willing to put in the effort.

Another conflict that was brought up in class was from Fran, she states that the value from the program area of the ability to make an argument, might conflict with the administration’s value of learning by quantification. A student’s ability to form an argument is hard to asses by numbers alone. It has to do with a student’s thought process and whether or not a person agrees or disagrees with a student’s argument, is not something that a grade should be based on.

A thought that I had brought up in class also has to do with the administration’s qualitative learning. I think that our professors value of self-assessment is hard to judge based on numbers. When a student is making observations on their own work, it is hard to compare their assessment of themselves to that of another student. Everyone values and weights different aspects of the class differently, so I think the results may end a little lopsided.

In class we didn’t come up with any definite solution to these conflicts of interest, but we did point out a problem that truthfully I think most students overlook. I think that it is known that students may have a different set of values when it comes to their education than the schools, but I think that it is less common knowledge that there is internal conflicts within the school system as well. The first step to solving any problem is to realize that there is an issue that is in need of solving.

Christina’s World

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Christina’s World by Andrew Wyeth

This is one of my favorite paintings by Andrew Wyeth, It is called Christina’s World.

After reading the second chapter in Writer/Designer called Analyzing Multimodal projects, I have decided to put the skills that I have learned to the test. First of I believe that art such as this should be considered an multimodal project because it brings together multiple different aspects in order to tell a story, this picture for example primarily uses these aspects in order to accurately portray its story:

  • Color
  • Gesture
  • Alignment
  • Proximity

Emphasis

The first aspect that Writer/Designer says
WyethChristinasWorldemphisasis important while analyzing design choices is where the emphasis is placed. When talking about a speech or piece of writing this can be shown through “stressing a word or a group of words,” (Arola, Sheppard, Ball, 31). I art this is done in the same way. You can easily tell that the women in this painting is what Wyenth is trying to emphasis because she is in the front of our view, and the closest object to the center of the image.

Contrast

Contrast is making an object or idea stand out due to its differences from is surroundings. In text this can be accomplished through color, boldness, or font change. In this example contrast is shown through the random girl in what otherwise would have been a landscape painting. Contrast is also show in the color pop of her dress compared to the much more muted colors around her.

Organization

Organization is purely the way that a project is arranged. In text or web sites this is usually shown with titles at the top of a page to display importance. In this painting Wyeth uses organization to display distance as well as importance. You can tell that the women is important because she is in the middle of the image. It shows distance through the placement of the buildings in the background. You know that they are far away because they are at the top of the image. Their size also indicates their importance and distance.

Alignment

WyethChristinasWorldalignmentAlignment in text is how the text and elements line up together. For example in a newspaper the different titles will line up in a purposeful way in order to direct the readers gaze throughout the different articles. In this painting alignment is the most important design choice. Alignment is used to tell the story by directing the viewer’s gaze around the image. You can see a direct line from the women’s head as well as her left hand placement to the farmhouse in the top right hand corner of the frame. This may indicate that there is a sense of need for her to go back to the house, at the very least you know that there is a strong connection between the two of them. Next it is intended that the viewer’s gaze follows the horizon line to the next building. It is obvious that there is less importance attached to this building but still a part of the story in some way.

P r o x i m i t y

Proximity refers to the use of space to show correlation between elements. In text this can be shown with bullet points or columns. In this painting proximity is used with the two buildings in the distance to show that they are very closely related, such as a farmhouse and its barn. Proximity is also used in a reverse sense, in order to separate the women from the houses. The extra space separating them creates the feeling that she is alone.

Color

Color is something that is used as a tactic to draw attention to certain objects. “Warm colors… command more attention than cooler colors,” (Arola, Sheppard, Ball, 38). This is blatantly shown in this image as there is a gradual shift from warm to cool colors as the eyes move from the bottom of the image to the top, starting with the pink of her dress and ending with the blue of the sky; this technique is also shown a little more subtly in the color tones of the

“An Eye For an Eye Makes the Whole World Blind”

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Wednesday night I went to a theatrical reading of “Dead Man Walking” by Sister Helen Prejean. The novel is a memoir that follows Prejean’s journey as a spiritual guide for a man on death row.

Her story was a touching revelation of what it might be like to be someone in close relation with a person on death row, as when I was watching I was starting to feel very attached and sympathetic to the man. It got to the point that I was almost having a hard time understanding what would possess a person to condemn a man to death. Yes, this man did a horrible deed. Killing a person is something that should never be forgiven, but in all honesty what is the benefit of rewarding him with death?

I say rewarding him, because a life in prison is no way to live. Life in confinement, a tortured mind, thoughts filled with guilt or rage? They might be alive, but they are no longer living. The only people that the death sentence is truly hurting is the family of the prisoner. It is robbing them of the chance to visit with their son, brother, father, etc. Personally, if I were ever somehow effected by a criminal of this stature, I would rather know that they alone are suffering, killing them would only be taking them out of their misery and passing on the hurt to their family.

Another thought that this story has provoked, is the concept that a person’s entire life can be defined by one single action. I understand that people who are on death row have be accused of committing completely revolting and unforgivable crimes. But where is the cut off that depicts whether we should let an awful event define a person or let it pass as simply a terrible mistake that a person has made?

An example from Sister Helen Prejean’s novel: As a child she had taken part in the murder of a possum. This may seem laughable to compare a child helping to cause the death of an animal, to a man killing a raping two human beings but if you get down to the basics what is the difference really? They each took a life. How can one kill and go on to become a nun, a position of great respect and purity, while the other is sentenced to death. sure she was a child, and we can excuse her actions because of her youth but she had the opportunity to grow, change, and make up for her mistakes, while him? He never will. He will always be remembered as a man killed for his mistakes.

Significant Learning

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The Taxonomy of Significant learning is a method of learning created by Dee Fink in order to improve/understand students learning in the class room as well and teaching methods. This Taxonomy is a method that integrates six different aspects of learning into one:

  • Foundational Knowledge – The basic information and concepts that a student must learn.
  • Learning how to learn – Helping a student learn about learning, this essay is a great example of this concept, teaching students what it is to learn and different strategies to improve one’s learning habits.

    Significant Learning
    A significant learning flower!
  • Application – When students learn how to use what their learning in a practical way, for example when a student learns how to think creatively in order to solve a problem in their everyday lives.
  • Integration – When students can make connections between different aspects of their own lives for example linking aspects of their school life, home life, and professional life to each other.
  • Human dimension – The human dimension is when student can learn things about themselves personally as well as others. If what they are learning is helping them to become a better person it will be more relevant.
  • Caring – Caring is what holds the act of learning all together. If a student cares and has interest in what they are learning then it will become significant to their lives. It doesn’t matter how great the teaching style is or how important the information is if the students don’t find a reason to care, they will never learn anything.

I think that the main idea of significant learning is to make the information relevant to the students. Make it something that they care and have an interest in. Show them that what they are learning will help them to change their everyday lives. “No change, No Learning” (Fink, page 3).

Should I Make a Note Of That?

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In classes students are encouraged to take notes on everything around them. It is supposed to jog their memory, give them something to study, and engage their minds. I have had two professors that have extreme opposing ideas about the subject of note taking.

Notes

My English professor this year believes strongly that the act of note taking will help the student succeed. He believes that note taking is a “physical act that shapes your mind.” He believes that you are creating a body of work you can look back on and the simple act of shows that you are being attentive.

On the other side of the spectrum I had a sociology professor who strongly believed that taking notes is only making an excuse for students to forget what they are taught. He came from a heavily native influenced background, where information and stories were primarily passed down orally. He discouraged students from taking notes in his class because he thought that as soon as students wrote down the information it will be stored in their journal rather than their minds; a Journal where the student will rarely look back on except to cram for a test.

Personally, given both of their reasoning’s, I’m not sure exactly what to believe. I agree that taking notes is helpful to look back on (I had to look back on the notes from my English professor’s class to make sure I got his opinions correct) but at the same time I do think that taking notes gives my memory a chance to get lazy. Even my English professor agrees at this level, he says note taking “give the brain a much needed break.” I also know that my sociology class was a challenge when it came to remembering exact details because I don’t think today’s student’s brains are trained to only learn by listening. I think that this is a style of learning that would take practice and seeing as a majority of professors value note taking as an important skill I don’t think this is something that college students should try to do.

I think there is value in the no note taking technique of learning, and in some classes this could be very useful, but in core classes such as math, science, or English I think it is better to keep a detailed collection of notes.

Symbolism and Signs: Response to Langer’s “Language and Thought”

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Symbolism and signs. We see them every day. For example what does a green traffic light mean in comparison to a red? How do we know the difference between an 8 or a 9? How do you know when a cat is hungry? For that matter how do you know when your friends are hungry?

Our life is full of symbolism, whether it is traffic signs, numbers, body language or just plain language, these concepts are all second nature to us now, but at one point or another we all had to be taught. It’s strange to think of language objectively. To think about how a mesh of individual sounds have been put together and are now used as language.  It’s also strange to think that this ability is the reason that humans are where they are today. Without language there would be no progress, innovation, or improvement to our culture, in fact there would be no culture.

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Details Count!

Language and symbolism is a very important aspect to master when becoming an architect. There are many different symbols and line types that convey messages to the contractors working to put together your work. If you were for example to mix up the symbol for a door for that of a window or if you were to try and design a building for someone that doesn’t speak the same language as you there could be extremely confusing consequences.

My Reading List

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I have decided that for the purpose of this class my degree path will be an Engineering major with an Art minor, with the end goal to become an architectural engineer. When choosing articles from the book Language a Reader for Writers, written by Gita DasBender, I tried to keep in mind the writing skills that will be needed for this profession. For example, skills that can help with clear and professional communication between clients and contractors, recording plans in a way that is convincing and understandable, and working with creative and up to date ideas.

A Peek Inside the Scramble of Monday Morning

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At the end of Mondays class period Mangrum challenged the class to type up our notes from our discussion about conventions. I’m afraid that my notes, though very inclusive will be almost impossible for an outside party to follow. Good luck deciphering :

Monday, September 20th

*Coffee on Wednesday*

Pay attention to fundamentals:

“I intended to hang on to the ball”
“I ran well before I dropped the ball”

Sweat the details, pay attention to form, Identify the conventions (a system of rules within your discipline that gives you order). Conventions aren’t written in the stares, it is a social agreement.

You have to quit fighting against the rules of the game, no one is forcing you to play. You have agency, the power to choose to play the game, you have to master the conventions first before you are given the authority to question the rules/conventions.

“As you move up, you are given authority, then you are afforded the privilege of the challenging conventions”

“students are novices”

Disciplines advance due to being challenged

Conventions related to skill compared to conventions relating to rules – Jordan

Different examples of conventions:

  • Politics
  • Athletics
  • Arts
  • Schooling
  • Professional
  • Spirituality

Conventions don’t always have to be written down, sometimes they are just understood by the community.

Rephrase what you hear.

Sometimes you need a whole range of people to advance conventions.

In the field of writing “no rules” pertain to style

“Be hesitant, It’s frightening how much of what we do, we do because of what other people tell us.”

Questions are appropriate to the discipline, but also age appropriate.

Exigence– The urgent need that causes a writer to create their argument

Being a scholar means that you are critically aware at all times.

You can’t change things until you become a master, but you should never stop challenging things on the way there.

We think in dialogue, a really good essay brings the dialogue from your head to the paper.

These kinds of conversations improve writing by improving our critical thinking, framing your own opinions, and learning how to question. Talk, think, listen.

Good Morning Cohort Group!

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Today we met in our groups to help each other take our blogs to the next step. We are supposed to hold each other up to a high standard that if one of us fails to reach we should help each other to catch up.

We checked each other’s blog for:

  • Properly formatted blogs
    -Title
    -Header photo size
    -Viewable by the public
  • Five aspects of multimodal discourse
  • 3-5 pictures demonstrating multimodal discourse from campus
  • Paragraphs to explain the argument of each photo

It’s interesting to participate in a class where the teacher expects the students/scholars to work in a collaborative way. Helping each other to learn new things and challenge our self’s. I am glad that we have finally reached this stage in our education that this level of trust and respect is acceptable in the class room.

One of the skills that I got out of today’s collaboration was learning how to resize photos to fit the blogs requirements without the use of Photoshop. Thanks to Austin I am now capable of using the schools technology. One thing that we all were working towards was learning how to upload videos to our blog. At this point we are still unsuccessful, but we haven’t given up!

Bumper Stickers

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Everything carries some sort of argument, whether it be the way we dress or the way we move our hands when we talk.  With this in mind I have been given the task to explore and analyze some of the arguments I can find in the world around me.

Bumper stickers in themselves are made for the sole purpose of making a statement, so I have decided to dive deeper and try to understand exactly which aspects help to push the designs to make each point.

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photo credit – Kendra Wittwer

This sticker uses clever linguistic techniques and visual patterns as its main attraction. “Make Durango Weird” is statement that demands thought from its audience. The term weird generally carries a negative connotation, though it seems that the creator of this sticker intended to show the term in a positive light with the use of its fine print encouraging students to come to Fort Lewis. They further this idea with the use of tie die, which is generally associated with a hippie lifestyle.

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Photo credit- Kendra Wittwer
Photo credit- Kendra Wittwer

This sticker capitalizes on the use of spatial and visual techniques to capture attention. The use of religious symbols to form the word Contradict creates a very powerful message that leaves its meaning slightly up for interpretation. At first when reading this sticker I figured that it was displaying an atheist view on religion, stating that they all are contradictory to each other as well as possibly life, though when reading the next line my opinion changed.

“They can’t all be true – John 14:6”

This might be my personal beliefs influencing my interpretation, but I think that this sticker isn’t dismissing that a religion might be true, but rather that only one of them can be real. Even though they all contrast with each other, it doesnt matter because no religion believes that the others are also correct. They don’t need to correlate with each other.

I think that the use of color or lack thereof, is also an important factor in the stickers design. The fact that it is only black and white leaves the entirety of the audiences focus on the symbols and words. It shows that the topic and argument carries enough weight to be noticed without the use of any color or obscure pattern.

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Photo Credit- Kendra Wittwer
Photo Credit- Kendra Wittwer

I have come to the conclusion that this bumper sticker is referring to one of two meanings. The term native is either used to describe Native American people, or native to Colorado. This sticker uses visual modes to hint that they are referring to someone that is native to the mountains, which suggests Colorado rather than America as a whole. They also use spatial modes, with the size and boldness of the word Native to show importance. With either meaning of the word native it is clear that they are shown in a positive light.


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