Student questions answered: what’s a MACE blog for?

QUESTION:

Hello Janja,

Hope you are having a good and restful weekend  🙂

I have one doubt regarding the blog posts: is it mandatory to write blog posts about the Frieze Fair and the shoe assignment (i.e.) or can we create the posts as we want to, as long they relate to the content of our classes?

I’m confused if you will be making suggestions so people who are not sure what to write get inspired or if you expect to read this from every student. I’m asking you that because in the first class you told us that the theme to our blog posts are free as long as they relate to our classes and content discussed.

Many thanks for clarifying this.

Best wishes,
Celina

 

ANSWER:

Dear Celina,

You are right in thinking I am suggesting topics to students – but these are incredibly broad topics.

You are also right in thinking that the content is free – for as long as it somehow connects back to the theory and practice we work on in class.

Let’s take the shoe day as an example. The shoe day has an important theoretical background and we would be surprised to see no aspect of that session discussed.

If you break the session down for the purposes of reflection:

  • we started with the theory (and what about the difficulties in class to understand it?)
  • we discussed how this theory applies to our approach to tasks
  • we reflected on how we have been taught/trained to approach investigation (you surveyed me and my two odd shoes, remember?)
  • we discussed extreme users and their value (how did that one shoe in the middle of the road get there? why is she wearing two different shoes?)
  • you went out to talk with people about their shoes (and what happened there?)
  • you came back with stories you had to reframe into assumptions
  • you had to work as a team to agree on a working “we believe” assumption
  • you had to build a prototype as a team
  • you had to present as a team

Then, as a further example: the process of prototyping is an important one for reflection. You deliberately got very little time to build your prototypes on the shoe day. What happened on the shoe day as a result?
Did it help to work with your hands in the development of your ideas?
Did this change your idea?
Did your prototype make it easier for you to communicate your ideas and thinking?
Did it help the team – to discuss, to make a decision, etc.
Etc.

In contrast to the shoe day, you had more time to prototype for the task last Friday – how did that change the process and the end result? Is time a useful resource in prototyping? It might give you more time to think (and delay making a decision…), but was it useful for creativity?

We are not really concerned with what shoe you developed on the shoe day – we want to see how you connect the theory with the practice and develop your thinking and own practice as a result.

It could be shoes (session 2), trips to toilets (session 1), home (startup weekend session), or the latest (session 3) challenge. By the way, and as an example – Rana, Nora, Lulu, and Luka did this ‘connecting’ very well in class on Friday by showing AND discussing their mapping of the activity theory triangle.

You can do this with any topic from class. We can’t prescribe you what to think, and so a topic like “the shoe day” is incredibly broad because each student will be thinking differently, and discussing a different aspect of theory/process/teamwork, etc… (or so we hope).

Since all of your blogs are deliberately grouped together, you can use your classmates’ blogs to learn from them and to develop your own thinking. Perhaps you agree with a discussion on another blog and will build on that thinking. Perhaps you completely disagree with a point of view and want to discuss your own thinking. Perhaps someone’s thinking prompted you to think about a parallel topic. Etc.

For MACE students specifically, we are also using the blogs for other modules or: you are also using the blogs for other modules to connect your thinking from other modules together. I don’t want to ‘advertise’ this as a separate task because it is not a separate task, and it is not a task – your thinking from different modules will merge as you develop.

Frieze Art Fair is one of the topics that we typically expect to see on all MACE blogs as your ‘thinking work in progress’ leading up to your mini-essays, and then debates and essays. If an essay is good/interesting – I encourage students to then post it on their blogs. The same will apply to debates.

Why? – because it adds value to show your capability to think critically and to write an interesting discussion. However, this is why I also try to push you to find topics relevant to you specifically/important for your future self – and which is why you can come up with your own topics for most of our MACE modules.

In short, you will not be penalised for not covering specific topics – because that is not the point of the blog. But if I look at your blog and can’t really see that you reflected on your learning – this will affect the quality of your final blog post/essay.

Hope this long explanation helps!

Best wishes,
Janja

Shoe day

MACE shoe day

 

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