the rest is silence? Well the more “creative” forms in my brain have stilled a bit as I attempt to get a good handle on the online course I’m teaching and shepherd my students through some intense writing assignments. It’s the first time out for this endeavor and I’m learning a lot which is actually more difficult than I’d like it to be. Not the learning exactly but the humility to accept critical comments and corrective ideas. I’m much better on self-criticism really. Give me a task of examining what went well and not so well and I can spin out a good list for most any occasion. And although I espouse the importance of taking in the ideas and thoughts of other people, in practice, not as easy to do especially when I’m wed to a certain idea, outlook or approach.
One piece of feedback I’ve gotten is that portions of the course are “confusing”. It’s true the class is complicated, full of written assignments and attempts to get students to be self-reflective, do peer reviews, and come up with good analysis and synthesis. But because I’ve gotten this feedback before (“assignments are not always clear”) I went out of my way to really focus in on this. I’m bummed! I also can’t figure out what the confusing bits are since I”m too close to the subject and to the process of developing the syllabus. What to do next, how to look and think like a student, how to revise for clarity – these thoughts are nagging at me. I’m keeping a running list of things I think might have been unclear, based on student responses to the assignments, in the hopes these will point the way.
I don’t think of this kind of thing as “creative” in the way I think of course development, poetry, or writing dances or singing as creative. Yet they have to draw on some similar well-spring of ideas and understanding. Of course some creative acts don’t require me to look through the eyes of another person. Some are just all about “me” and my vision. Even so, I believe a strong work,a strong creative act or piece of art, has some empathetic core — either I can make you look through my eyes or I can somehow look through yours. It’s that core that builds a more powerful, more universal experience. So there are shared skills that can build up my reserves – a cross-training for the mind if you will.
It maybe could use a belt to keep the frump factor lower but I love the blue in the dress/top and how it added something to the overall neutral of the outfit.