How a Class Becomes a Community: Theory, Method, Examples ~ HASTAC

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by Cathy Davidson


“About three years ago I began inviting my student-led, peer-evaluated, collaboratively structured classes to think about the shape of a course: what defined it, what its participants could do to describe and circumscribe its practices, how a group of strangers, all enrolled in the same institutional experience of a “course,” could come together as a community of choice, mission, shared purpose, and mutually beneficial learning. It was a student in “This Is Your Brain On the Internet,” an undergraduate class I taught at Duke in 2010, who said, “We need a class constitution!”


“Now in virtually every class I teach we begin with an exercise where we jointly compose such a document. In composing rules for our class we have everyone contribute to peer-production of the very idea of “peer production.” We use a common document to think through what we want from the very particular commons of a class.”


Jim Lerman’s insight:


This is Chapter One from the recent ebook Field Notes for 21st Century Literacies, available for free download from HASTAC.

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