Large-scale Course Redesign

In Improving Learning and Reducing Costs: Lessons Learned from Round I of the Pew Grant Program in Course Redesign By Carol A. Twigg (source) the Emporium model in developmental math is summarized.

This is a comment from 2003:

Decisions to engage in large-scale course redesign cannot be left to an individual faculty member. An institution’s best chance of long-term success involves not a single individual but rather a group of people who, working together, are committed to the objectives of the project. Indicators that the faculty in a particular unit are ready to collaborate include the following: they may have talked among themselves about the need for change; they may have decided to establish common learning objectives and processes for the course in question; and they may have instituted pieces of a common approach, such as a shared final examination.

See also (source) for more current discussion.


Nightly Flights

In Austin, Texas, a tourist attraction is to gather on the Congress Avenue Bridge, on the lawn under the bridge, and in boats on the river to see the nightly flight of the Mexican free-tailed bats.

From the Bat Conservation International:

When engineers reconstructed the Congress Avenue Bridge in 1980 they had no idea that new crevices beneath the bridge would make an ideal bat roost. Although bats had lived there for years, it was headline news when they suddenly began moving in by the thousands. Reacting in fear and ignorance, many people petitioned to have the bat colony eradicated.

About that time, Merlin Tuttle brought BCI to Austin and told the city the surprising truth: that bats are gentle and incredibly sophisticated animals; that bat-watchers have nothing to fear if they don’t try to handle bats; and that on the nightly flights out from under the bridge, the Austin bats eat from 10,000 to 20,000 pounds of insects, including agricultural pests.

Inspired by source:

Coins Lost By Mermaids

Sand dollars have five points not six and they are not shellfish, they are sea urchins.

Sand dollars connect to folk lore in the following ways:

A variety of imaginative associations have been made by idle beachcombers who run across the bleached skeletons of dead sand dollars.

The tests are sometimes said to represent coins lost by mermaids or the people of Atlantis. Christian missionaries found symbolism in the fivefold radial pattern and dove-shaped internal structures.

“Aristotle’s lantern” has been discerned in the distinctive perforations of keyhole sand dollars.


Limitless Spectacle of Everyday

Here is a remixing of this artist’s ethos (source):

From architectural interventions to delicate paper constructions, [this] work invites an intimate engagement with the phenomenal world, exploring the interconnections of time, materiality and experience through an awakening of the senses.

Individual works rely on interaction and embody change, often their own dissolution over time. Transparent media play on the limits of visibility, creating conditions for discovery and reflection while revealing the limitless spectacle of the everyday.

The Warp & The Weft

In a search for an image to explain the warp and weft in fabric, a simple image appears from wikipedia:

An artist named Kumi Yamashita also appears in the same search (source). She removes part of the warp and the weft in fabric to create something new.

She describes her delicate and precise art:

Sometimes there is something beautiful about things falling apart. Undoing one thing while simultaneously creating another.

See also Many Paths To & For Personalization (source).

Meaning Over Randomness

In How We Learn: The Surprising Truth About When, Where, and Why It Happens  by Benedict Carey, he reminds us:

The brain is not like a muscle, at least not in any straightforward sense. It is something else altogether, sensitive to mood, to timing, to circadian rhythms, as well as to location, environment. It registers far more than we’re conscious of and often adds previously unnoticed details when revisiting a memory or learned fact.

It works hard at night, during sleep, searching for hidden links and deeper significance in the day’s event. It has a strong preference for meaning over randomness, and it finds nonsense offensive.

It doesn’t take orders so well, either, as we all know –forgetting precious facts needed for an exam while somehow remembering entire scenes from The Godfather or the lineup of the 1986 Boston Red Sox.

If the brain is learning machine, then it’s an eccentric one. And it performs best when its quirks are exploited.

Carey’s book makes no mention of absolutes in the introduction. He writes:

Cognitive science …clarifies how remembering, forgetting, and learning are related.

Many Paths To & For Personalization

In “Competency-Based Online Programs Address Needs in New Industries” (source) By Ian Quillen, he has a useful quote to explain a relationship between CBE programs, students, and employers:

Employers don’t want the C student – they don’t even want the B student..They want the student who can work through something over multiple revisions, multiple steps of input, and actually come up with something better.​​​​

In addition, George Veletsianos posted a blog today “Personalized learning: the locus of edtech debates” with interesting questions, questions, and categories about educational technology (source). Here are some questions from his post:

Does it mean different pathways for each learner, one pathway with varied pacing for each learner, or something else?

How do we balance system and learner control?

What is the role of openness is personalized learning?

Both sources cited above examine different pathways for teaching and learning using educational technology. When we want to improve the conditions for teaching and learning, it’s important to remember that there are many paths to the same goal.



See also [Pathways], [New Pathways], [Clock Hours], [Student Control of Learning], [Seat Time], [Pathways to Collaborative Pedagogy], [Legitimize Open and Flexible Time For Teacher Collaboration] Guided Pathways & Professional DevelopmentThe Five Pillars of Motivating Instruction,  and Just Tell Me What To Do from this blog.

See also NotYetness, Invention, and The Dream/Reality WhiteboardMentoring New-ish Faculty, [Chihuahuas Among the New Foundlands: The Need For Communities of Practice 2.0 #dLRN15] from another blog (source).

See also Systemic Change in the Consortium and Final Faculty Learning Community 2015 Report from the SBCTC FLC blog (source).


According to the Wikitionary (source) the definition of the word pathway has two meanings:

  1. A footpath or other path or track.

  2. (biochemistry) A sequence of biochemical compounds, and the reactions linking them, that describe a process in metabolism or catabolism.

Wikipedia has several references to the term, and this one is connected to community colleges and federal education policy initiatives via Career Pathways:

Community colleges coordinate occupational training, remediation, academic credentialing, and transfer preparation for career pathways initiatives.

Career pathways models have been adopted at the federal, state and local levels. Given their cross-system nature, states often combine multiple federal streams to fund different elements of career pathways models.

Pathways bring to mind hiking, garden walkways, and, perhaps an emphasis on choices leading to serendipitous discoveries. When is one’s career path ever linear?

What are the most effective career pathways for community college students?

See also [other links about educational policy here]