learning by making

Balance of agency and flexibility helps students develop their own artistic process


Nora Schultz

Out of appreciation for Professor Shultz’s commitment to flexibility in artistic expression, this issue of Into Practice employs a slightly modified format. 

Nora Schultz, Assistant Professor of Visual and Environmental Studies, encourages experimentation and a diversity of readings for her courses Shape Shifting Your Reality and Object Matter of Jelly Fish: Sculpture Course. Her goal is to create a “structure that gives students the awareness and 'space' to develop their unique creative processes.” One assignment, for example,... Read more about Balance of agency and flexibility helps students develop their own artistic process

The Architectural Imagination (HarvardX)

In K. Michael Hays’s HarvardX course, The Architectural Imagination, learners explore fundamental architectural concepts through various “making-as-learning” activities, like building a cardboard model of Aldo Rossi’s Cuneo Memorial and designing a pied-à-terre in the style of Le Corbusier.

Mastering course content through creative assignments


Kramer and HolbrookElena Kramer, Bussey Professor of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology, and Noel Michele Holbrook, Charles Bullard Professor of Forestry, co-teach General Education course OEB 52: Biology of Plants through lectures, labs, field trips, and weekly quizzes that students use to combine concepts into a creative project at the end of the semester. The prompt, “Trace the rise of the sporophyte,” results in the production of resources like videos, art pieces, fashion magazines, original songs, poems, and children’s books that students present in an arts festival during the final class.

The benefits: Students have to refer back to course activities to help crystalize what they’ve been learning all semester, which ultimately helps them prepare for the final exam. Students tell Kramer the creative projects help them better understand course concepts: “It’s not just busy work, it’s not just fun; it actually makes them think about everything they’ve learned through the semester.”

The challenges: A standard grading rubric is difficult to apply to projects produced in various mediums. To address this issue, Kramer and Holbrook collaborated with a Media Fellow in the Derek Bok Center’s Learning Lab to design an accompanying activity in which all students record an introduction that explains their project and how it addresses the prompt. This “artist’s statement” is especially useful for evaluating the more abstract projects.... Read more about Mastering course content through creative assignments

Creative projects: Interpreting history through various media


Vincent BrownVincent Brown, Charles Warren Professor of American History and Professor of African and African American Studies, trains students to interpret history through various media including graphics, data visualizations, videos, and art installations.

The benefits: By tackling creative assignments in HIST 1912 History Design Studio, students learn as historical artists to evaluate and articulate the rationale for why they might select a particular medium. “History doesn’t have to be told in the medium of print.... Read more about Creative projects: Interpreting history through various media

Agency by Design (Project Zero)

The Harvard Graduate School of Education’s Project Zero shares projects and resources in making and design environments, including Agency by Design. 

Making & design (Project Zero)

 

The Harvard Graduate School of Education’s Project Zero shares projects and resources in making and design environments, including Agency by Design. 

 

Research: Learning in the Making: A Comparative Case Study of Three Makerspaces

A comparative case study of three diverse makerspaces (defined as informal sites for creative production) surfaced key themes in practices and the kinds of learning they support. Makerspaces are multidisciplinary in both approach and the work produced, blend formal learning environments with informal communities of practice, and focus on learning as production rather than as mastery of a composite set of skills.... Read more about Research: Learning in the Making: A Comparative Case Study of Three Makerspaces

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