Friday, November 25, 2011


Hmmm... the use of technology and its impact on the arts. Blackboard, plus or minus. I have to say that Blackboard has not been much of a hassle for me. Some things work really well. Assignment postings, the communications listing with everyone's e-mail makes it easy to get in touch with a classmate, the posting of class documents on line is all great and works well. Plus it saves a lot of paper.

The discussion board is another issue however. When you have weekly assignments that you must read and respond to it can be very overwhelming. Especially if there are 35 plus posts for each topic. I almost feel like it has replaced a lively classroom debate, which seems to have disappeared from Higher Education. I truly think that the classroom sizes on the graduate level are out of control particularly in the Dance department. In the two and a half years that I have been here I have only had one class under 20 people. Most classes have been 30 plus with this year's Intermediate Technique and Pedagogy class topping  out over 40. They needed to divide the class because there was no way of accommodating that many people in the studio. I am sorry to say that I don't even know most of my classmates names. I however do not blame myself entirely for this as in many ways it seems built into the system.

Our dependence on Blackboard takes away from the very important aspect of person to person exchange, of dialogue, of debate. It is really easy to sit at home and espouse my viewpoint or philosophy on the weekly topic and not ever respond to or really care about what anyone else has to say. Oh sure I read the ones form people who I like or know but generally it is almost impossible to read everyone's responses. Then when we superficially touch on topics in class I see how uniformed people really are when it comes to truly analyzing and debating the issues at hand, myself included.

The one thing I thought I was going to get out of my Graduate education was engagement and lively debate about what is important in the performing arts (dance) today and how do we effectively educate the next generation to be leaders artistically and educationally.

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