v6.2.3 - moving along, a point increase at a time

NMC12: day 1 highlights part 1

This year the New Media Consortium conference was held in Boston and hosted by MIT, so it was a good opportunity to attend given that it is my own back yard. In this post, I don't plan to recount blow by blow each session, but rather post what seemed most interesting about each.

In the welcome keynot was made by Joichi Ito, the MIT media lab director, and the topic was on innovation in open networks (check out the recording on iTunes U here). Even though I missed the first half hour of the talk die to commuting the remaining 45 were inspirational, perhaps because I already ascribe to the principles of open. One of the main takeaways from this talk was to just to it. If you have an idea and it's within your financial means, just do it. Don't conduct (costly) feasibility studies to see if it's worth spending the cash to work on your idea. The worst that can happen is that it doesn't work. Thus, don't be afraid to fail, and of course, learn from your mistakes and iterate!

The other interesting thing that I found out about th MIT media lab is that their PhD requires no coursework. Students come in, self motivated, and they can figure out what they need in order to complete their projects and sit in on classes (or self study, or seek subject matter experts) to round out their knowledge to complete their goals. More PhD programs, in my opinion, should be like this in the US. The current prescriptive nature of most PhD programs where you take X many courses, with Y many being required, and then take comprehensive exams before you're allowed to dissertation reeks of an industrial era PhD.

Finally (wow, I didn't think I would be writing this much), was about Ito's anti-disciplinary approach to learning. The big buzz is cross-disciplinary education these days, however this can lead to people working on a project and sectioning it off in discreet parts in order to get it done. Thus, the cross-disciplinary project is more of a Franken-project in that different parts are sewn together to make the final product. No true teamwork has occurred, and no new understandings have been forged. In an anti-disciplinary approach no one can say "that's not my part", everybody works on everything, and everybody learns a bit about the other person's discipline, and learns to practice it a bit! This seems like a great idea for putting together group projects for the two departments I am involved with. Maybe it's something I will work into future syllabi ;-) post getting long, so I will post session thoughts in a second post.

What are your thoughts on anti-disciplinarism?


Recap Slide


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