In the News, and in the Classroom by Duncan Dobbelmann
Duncan Dobbelmann, adviser to the president at Bennington College, Vermont, wrote a commentary on the objectives and need of pop-up courses as part of Special Report on How to Revamp a Curriculum in The Chronicle of Higher Education, May 2017. Following are some excerpts from the commentary.
There are times that colleges — especially those dedicated to instilling a social purpose — must offer courses that address unfolding events such as Ferguson with the same attention, skills, and rigor as regularly scheduled courses. Courses that can — and should — be seen as existing on the same continuum of learning.
On the importance and need of pop-up courses:
"There are times that colleges — especially those dedicated to instilling a social purpose — must offer courses that address unfolding events such as Ferguson with the same attention, skills, and rigor as regularly scheduled courses. Courses that can — and should — be seen as existing on the same continuum of learning."
On Bennington's response to pop-up courses and its history:
"At my institution, Bennington College, a liberal-arts college that holds student agency and engagement as core values, we felt that we needed to create opportunities for discussion less ad hoc and more sustained than town-hall meetings and teach-ins — something more like our courses themselves. We recalled an idea that had previously been discussed only casually, in one of those wouldn’t-it-be-nice-if moments: pop-up courses. If we could create courses more or less on the spot, as the need arose, then we would have a strong, learning-oriented mechanism ready for such events as Ferguson."
"The pop-up idea was discussed and approved by the curriculum committee in the fall of 2014. Pop-ups were defined as one or two credit module-style courses meant to respond to unfolding local, national, or international events or issues."
On some of the courses offered:
"In the spring of 2015 we offered five pop-up courses, among them "The Ferguson Report," "Nepal: Before and After the Earthquake," "Measles and the (Sometimes Unnatural) History of Outbreaks," and "Am I Charlie?" (about the Charlie Hebdo attacks). As expected, each saw a healthy enrollment, as have the pop-ups offered since then."
To read the complete article, visit: https://www.chronicle.com/article/In-the-Newsin-the/240131
To read the details of the courses, visit: https://www.bennington.edu/bennington-magazine/pop-ups