Design, Informational and/or Instructional?

I am now a few weeks into teaching a great class, Information Design, for Empire State College.  My thanks to Phylise Banner for letting me know of the opportunity, making introductions, and designing a great online course for me to enjoy during 15 weeks!

One of the early readings used for the class is a web site, and this part in particular caught my attention:

http://www.kelake.org/articles/id/importance6.html

While Information Design is “concerned with transforming data into information, making the complex easier to understand and to use”, what is said on the importance6 page above blurred right over to Instructional Design for me.  Experiences.  That is at the heart of a great class, on any topic.

I’m tempted to start railing on the “experience” all too common in higher education today; come students, to our campus, have a seat in our classrooms, we will lecture at you, as if pouring out our knowledge upon you, as a pitcher unto a sponge.  What more typically happens is water rolling off as if on a duck’s back.  Instead, let me back up one more little page from the kelake.org site:

“Information is the beginning of meaning. It means nothing until you do something to it.”

Yes, we are living in an information age, and that means the importance of memorization and rote recital is diminished.  But we cannot just try to tread water on the flowing river of information.  Those wanting to learn, and those who are teaching, cannot just stare upon, or hear words about, some chunk of information.  What will I do with the information, what will I have my students do to experience  what this information means, implies, enlightens, debunks?

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~ by Neal Cross on June 1, 2010.

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