Our partnership with the TLT Studio has gone some distance in modeling a way of using digital media to cultivate community around an important education reform issue. Because Penn State is a single university geographically dispersed, the GenEd Matters site has become a kind of marketplace of ideas and information about the GenEd reform process. We have sought to include a wide public in these conversations and, as a result, we have received an enormous amount of very helpful feedback on the process and suggestions for the emerging curriculum.
The site is continually being updated, its functionality improved even as we use it to engage in conversation. It’s a little like rebuilding the ship of Theseus as we sail it. Still, it is an intensely collaborative endeavor as we think about how design impacts discussion and how transformative reform can be undertaken in and with a thoughtful public.
It has been so thrilling to work with The Gen Ed Task Force on building this platform to promote both the transparency of the Task Force and the participation of the entire Penn State community. I feel it is serving as a model for the way Penn State can communicate on the web, a multi-directional large-scale dialogue around core issues to the institution.
I especially love the adventure of rebuilding the ship as we sail it, as Chris puts it. Partly this was born from the necessity to start the communications as soon as possible. We were forced to embrace an ongoing, iterative, highly collaborative approach to this project, which just further underscores the fact that the site is exposing in-process thinking, not a tidy final nugget of a recommendation around Gen Ed. It also is a demonstration of the approach we embrace at the TLT Studio: learning by doing, iterating quickly, and adjusting as we go.