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“human interaction and someone to answer your questions…”

I think to understand these readings, a brief on DIY and punk culture is in order. My understanding goes like this: not only is utilizing “traditional” channels of cultural production [by they universities, music labels, publishers, et. al.] expensive, inaccessible, boring, and reinforcing oppressive norms: it is also potentially dangerous, since truly radical ideas [and by extention, people] won’t pass the gatekeepers anyway so lesser ideas/productions are what become culturally popular. Plus, and “asking permission” to produce reinforces those parts of patriarchy which disempower by doing-for-since-they-know-better.

Now, with the gates to education becoming not just admissions but more substantially costs, Jim Groom and other Edupunks are facing the challenge paraphrased by David Wiley as “to capture the potential of technology to lower costs and improve learning for all.” Open Content is being worked on by educators such as Neeru Paharia, who sees her work as “proving the model”  [sound familiar?] The small proof-versions to “demonstrate that there’s a way to provide education cheaply or even for free to all.”

What the open-content networks deliver is “human interaction and someone to answer your questions,” which addresses is one of the major questions I’ve had with [and as] a self-directed learner: what is the motivation to achieve the challenge of completion? Is it accountability to others? Seeing a full product? What directs *you* as a learner to take on — and complete — the momentus associated tasks each week, month, year? Is it only accreditation?

And Laura is right, that we did touch on this in class last week, and I’d thought of the zine-book made by MaximumRocknRoll in 1992 [and reissued in with a cover by Fly 2001 just as the internet became 2.0] called “Book Your Own Fucking Life” which acts as a DIY toolkit for bands/travelling artists, and gives everything from phone numbers to venues to places to crash on the way, creating a horizontalist network of DIY musicians.

Posted in Motivations, Reading.

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2 Responses

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  1. meiling says

    This is a great question Hadassah and at the the core, really, of pedagogy of all flavors (equal question being, what motivates you to teach? and its accompanying “momentous tasks”? (warning: this post is going to wander a lot….)This week’s readings/links are a refreshing departure from and critique of the academy. I found the reference in one comment to academics being the most elitist guild of them all pretty humorous actually because while credentials of a high breed are necessary for certain kinds of positions, at the same time the American culture has a huge anti-intellectual streak. While the credentialing system is definitely broken academics as a discipline also needs more value as a practice. As a self-learner of all kinds for many years, working in many mediums/fields/professions before returning to school, I now see the academy as a place where the intellect itself is exercised as a kind of art form. I must say I also personally value the face to face and (despite my interest in online learning!!!) wonder how well “conversations” really work without it. So to finally get back to your question….for me to be motivated to learn, I think structure really helps, having a “course” to follow, and letting ideas percolate along the way. In other kinds of learning, such as craft for example, where you actually see something manifest physically–that is my measure and sense of accomplishment. But for thinking-arts: it’s about the personalization of a discourse, new ways of seeing–and although it becomes conceptual usually rather than tangible–again, I feel final projects make a difference in a sense of “completion” and “learning” for me. It’s a creative process.

    PS another to add to list of links: (monetized craft tutorials)

  2. Sonia K. González says

    Hadassah, thanks for your punk culture intro, and really thought-provoking questions. What motivates me to learn/produce.. hmmm… well, I’d say a few things: 1) I like to learn, 2) the contrast of having been in the work-force for as long as I did helped me realize what a luxury it is to be in school, and 3) I’m definitely motivated by my girls – ok they are now young women, but I met them when they were 12 or 13 and we have maintained a strong relationship and the deal we made when I returned to school was they can’t quit if I don’t. So far everyone is still in school and by the time I’m done 1 will be on track to receiving her MPH likely from Columbia and the other will be finishing her BA and is considering a Master’s in TBD, not too bad for being the first in their family to go to, and stay in, school.
    As an extension of this deeply meaningful relationship, I’m very committed to serving vulnerable populations and that serves as a powerful motivator to see my projects through to fruition, including the ITP one’s.

    Finally, in full disclosure, wanting to have my degree to move into another paying bracket is also a motivator for getting my work done.

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