Courage to Take Risks

In our second Innovators’ Toolkit, “Risk Taking and Managing Student Expectations,” we discussed the challenges of risk-taking in the classroom and strategies to address them.  As fellow Richard Bautch reminded me, one of our distinguishing characteristics drawn from our Holy Cross heritage and expressed in our mission is the “courage to take risks”.

Here is a round up of challenges and strategies discussed by our fellows: Continue reading

Prep for Innovators’ Toolkit 2

In preparation for Innovators’ Toolkit 2, Risk Taking and Managing Student Expectations, please do the following:

  1. Complete the “Teaching Risk” blog assignment.
  2. Read: Ebbeler, Jennifer. “‘Introduction to Ancient Rome,’ the Flipped Version.” The Chronicle of Higher Education, July 22, 2013.

Teaching Risk Blog Assignment 2, due 5/20/2015 at 10 am

In preparation for Innovators’ Toolkit 2, Risk Taking and Managing Student Expectations, Wednesday, May 20, 10:00 – 11:30 am, please complete this blog assignment on your personal blog before the session.

Tell about a time you took a teaching risk, e.g., tried something new with your class.

  • What was the nature of the risk?
  • Why did you take this risk?
  • How did your students react? Why?
  • How did you talk to your students about this risk?

Project Presentation: Collaborative Investigation Through Emerging Technologies

Sara Parent-Ramos, Visiting Assistant Professor of Art

Brief description of course:

I am interested in developing a lesson unit that focuses on emergent technologies and sculptural approaches. Unit content will include 3D printing and modeling, digital appropriation/ceramic decals and the impact of the “maker” and “DIY” movement on contemporary artistic practice. This unit will be a part of the Introduction to Sculpture course at Saint Edward’s University.

Brief description of the pedagogical experiment:


The created unit will be based on a combination of Mastery Learning, Apprenticeship and Studio learning educational models (Bloom 1971, Guskey 2010, Schon, 1983). The unit will emphasize the importance of varying forms of collaborative artistic practice in contemporary art through hands-on experiential learning.

What will you do:

The developed unit will be based on a Studio Learning Model, with additional lectures, demonstrations and site visits (fab labs , etc.).


Project #1: Students will modify an appropriated open source 3d printed object in a manner that conceptually comments on the original design.

Project #2: Students will create a ceramic object with appropriated visual decal imagery.

Project #3: For this collaborative group project students will draft a proposal for a large installation/sculpture that uses the technical approaches introduced in class (3d printing/decals).

How will this improve student learning:

This unit will address the following sculpture SLO’s;

  1. Demonstrate competence and skill in the use of basic tools, techniques, technologies, and processes within the sculpture discipline.
  2. Capacity to develop and iterate ideas from initial ideas, to research and through to final project and presentation.
  3. Evidence of personal reflection on artistic decision making process in verbal and written form.
  4. Capable of discussing artistic work and process in the context of class readings/podcasts and larger artistic trends.

In particular, this unit will encourage students to;

  1. Reach beyond the classroom environment to connect with resources
  2. Engage in collaborative practice
  3. Give student confidence in working with emerging technologies

How will you test it?

I will judge this units success based upon students written self-reflections, and the quality of the completed projects.

What will be biggest challenge of this experiment?

  1. The students will need familiarity with collaborative learning and artistic research/planing.
  2. I will need to get my hands on the technology (software/hardware) needed
  3. I need to refresh myself on the technology needed for this project

What is your status? What have you accomplished? What work remains before you teach this course?

  1. I am revamping the Clay I syllabi to include an emphasis on collaborative learnings and artistic research. It is my hope that by emphasizing collaborative learning and artistic research I will empower students to be proactive lifelong learners.
  2. The director of the library and I have organized a group of eleven faculty members who are interested in 3d printing. We are working on drafting a proposal to ask for additional funds from internal and external sources for the development of 3d printing facilities at Saint Edwards.
  3. I will be applying for a grant to take a course at the Digital Fabrication Residency in Laurel Maryland in December (2014).


Minimizing risk taking

I have been thinking about our topic of yesterday. Obviously the key to success, and the way to avoid bad evaluations, is to enable the students to see that they will do better if they join the journey. We listened to terrible stats about how little our students are willing to read and I think that may transfer into how much they wish to be ‘spoon-fed’ material. I think that this makes them resistant to our innovations.  So a couple of thoughts on which I would really welcome your ideas: Continue reading

Day 1

Thanks for a thought provoking morning. I am sorry that my “voice” doesn’t seem to work but I can hear all of you very well.

I just wanted to share my thoughts about risk having tried innovation before. I think the students may respond better to small innovations rather than wholesale change in the way they learn.  After my husband obtained his Masters in Education I was inspired to try to teach a class using  one of the ‘cutting-edge’ strategies that he had learned and we had discussed at length.  There is no doubt in my mind that the students achieved excellent higher level learning but I received the worst student evaluations of my career. Students don’t like change and I am certainly hoping to learn ways of helping them to be more accepting of it in the classroom.

Day 1: Innovation, Risk-taking and Experimentation

Agenda for Monday, May 19:  We get started bright and early on Monday.  Breakfast is on your own, but we will be brewing plenty of coffee.

  • Location:  Library, room 141 (one of the new “global digital classrooms”)
  • 9-10:45am:  Overview of institute and introductions to fellows’ projects
  • 10:45-11:30am:  Individual planning
  • 11:30-12:30pm:  Lunch
  • 12:30-2pm:   Innovators’ Tool Kit: Risk-taking, experimentation, and managing student expectations

Educational Approaches

Innovation Institute CFP