My interest in looking at even the basics of the spacial semiotics of the college classroom comes from Michael Wesch’s video “A Portal to Digital Literacy” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J4yApagnr0s Watch it! He analyzes what a lecture hall signifies about outdated academic attitudes about delivering education.
I don’t believe I can “deliver education” anyway. Think of the pizza delivery person packing in an armload of warm and fragrant boxes to a hungry crowd. Good for football, bad for higher ed. I have this blurb on my syllabus:
Participation: “I have a (perhaps atypical) philosophy about student participation. I believe your engagement is your choice. I encourage college students to work for themselves, not for the teacher. That will play out in other classroom practices too. My philosophy is rooted in the simple belief of a democratic classroom and my high regard for students as individuals. Autonomy is, research shows, the greatest motivator anyway, even above financial reward (or in our case, grades). You are free to work or to fail, and to gain the benfit or bear the consequences of your own choices. I will most likely still like you as a person whatever you decide. I don’t believe one’s value or identity is measured in grades or performance anyway. We will learn from each other as we study together. It will be intellectually stimulating. I will naturally notice those who stand out, for better or worse. Better to be known as the one who attempts smart ideas rather than the slacker who seems stoned.”