The Truth is Powerful
Creating educationally and developmentally impactful learning experiences.
What is it that distinguishes a liberal arts education from vocational training? It’s not simply breadth of exposure – to the arts, the humanities, and the social and natural sciences. It’s that a liberal education is meant to be transformative.
The higher purpose of liberal education is to free its recipients to think in fresh and more analytical and informed ways, appreciate culture with sophisticated sensibilities, and bring historical, ethical, cross-cultural perspectives to current events.
The skills and knowledge a liberal education imparts include not only disciplinary methods and theoretical and conceptual frameworks, but something far greater: Heightened powers of observation and communication, interpretive and research skills, and a capacity for critical self-reflection.
Does our curriculum do this? Perhaps. But if it does, this is not a product of intentionality in design.
Today’s dominant instructional design model, backward design, is certainly superior to the older “topical coverage” approach, in which faculty members made a list of the subjects to cover and assigned one topic to each class session. Done correctly, backward design produces courses that are much more coherent and focused than those in the past, with activities and assessments tightly aligned to the faculty member’s learning […]