Monday, August 27, 2012

What Do We Want Out of a Requirement?

I was in a discussion today about some requirements.  You know the sort of discussion.  We were talking about a specific program's classes and how they may or may not fit with some new requirements coming down the line.

I can't help wondering what it is we want students to walk away with from a requirement.  Let's imagine, for example, we have a two course requirement for humanities.

What do we want students to learn from this requirement? 

A way of thinking?  Appreciation?  Disciplinary understanding?

In a 3 credit course environment (meaning three hours in class a week over 15 weeks of a semester), that's bascially 45 total "hours," and probably closer to 40 "hours" of instruction (because there are exams, finals, etc that aren't instruction, and at my school, at least, an "hour" is only 50 minutes).

What is it that all students should learn in 90 hours of classroom instruction?

(Yes, of course there's a problem trying to equate time with learning or knowledge, but there's a relationship of some sort there, usually.  And the 90 hours doesn't account for the additional 2-3 hours of work outside the classroom that we fantasize students will spend for each hour in class.)

1 comment:

  1. As far as our humanities required classes (which are team taught by art, music, and English profs), the goals include giving them some disciplinary understanding, but also to get them to make interdisciplinary connections between the arts (including culture and history). I think we're trying to get them to think outside their boxes, too, which can be very uncomfortable for them, but ultimately good for them in the long run.