Nov 24 2010

Sharon Boyd

Posthuman Pedagogy Task

Posted at 2:25 pm under Artefact, Posthumanism

horse instal image Your challenge this week is to explore the concept of horses and biotechnology. Reflect on the meeting ground between horses and biotech – what does this mean to you? What ideas or concerns does this raise?

This is a very open task, so you can approach it from any direction you like. Likewise, your reflection can be in the form of images, words, slides, movie clips, a poster… whatever works best for you. At the end of the week, we will be sharing all the reflections and discussing this topic together.

6 responses so far

6 Responses to “Posthuman Pedagogy Task”

  1.   Sharon Boydon 24 Nov 2010 at 2:34 pm 1

    This is a tough one, as our students like things defined very specifically. I know the first question would be “how many slides?” or “what format?”

    Both Sian and Edward’s articles touched on the importance of remembering that challenge of “open space” in learning activities, and this is certainly a challenge. I found it very hard not to have a list of specific guidelines, and would be afraid to even provide an example, in case this was followed as “how to do it”.

    Definitely “fraught with fallibility” for me, this experiment – but it would be fascinating to see the response, particularly in a course dealing with welfare issues, leading to highly emotive responses.

    Really looking forward to feedback/guidance and recommendations for tweaking text (not too happy with the first line yet, but I’ll keep at it!)

  2.   martinon 24 Nov 2010 at 10:09 pm 2

    Hi Sharon,

    This is certainly thought provoking and something which instantly places learners in unfamiliar waters, well outside of their comfort zones. Therefore learning through this task should be enhanced.

    In my experience, students would probably attempt to use words first and foremost, and I wonder whether the creation of a ‘visual-based’ answer would challenge further.

    With my teacher hat on, it might be that you would want to provide some ground rules for the end of week presentation. Beyond that, an excellent task, one which I will now go away and think about further…
    …btw, maybe you could use the word ‘Horseology’ in tweaking the text? :)

  3.   Sharon Boydon 28 Nov 2010 at 12:12 pm 3

    Hiya Martin,

    Your reply has been tempting me in my inbox since earlier this week and I’m so glad to be able to get to it today.

    I agree, moving to a more “visual-based” answer would be a challenge, but strangely left me wondering if, being a more specific “instruction” would actually help the student group more.

    I agree that this definitely needs more ground rules – it is very much an early idea rather than a full-formed task – and one which I need to go away and think about further too!

    Horseology – love it!!! Post-equinism or -equidism, anyone?

  4.   Siân Bayneon 29 Nov 2010 at 11:23 am 4

    I really like the openness of this task and the scope it gives for creativity and wide-thinking. I wonder whether you might focus it around a clearer narrative – does something like ‘Imagining the Futurehorse’ sounds ridiculously cheesy? : ) As the task stands it invites thinking in terms of imaginary futures for the horse (science fiction and representations in art and culture) as well as scientific perspectives based in current and future research – this possible ambiguity seems to enrich the task for me, but I can imagine it’s something the students would want clarification on early on? Is this one aimed at your online equine science postgrads? Nice one Sharon.

  5.   Noreen Dunnetton 29 Nov 2010 at 5:47 pm 5

    I loved this Sharon. I think Sian’s suggestion about the narrative is probably all that is needed to make it an exciting and fruitful task for the learners you are aiming at. I tend to over-instruct learners, partly because I’m scared to let go of the control – this task does this admirably and gives them the thinking room I always fail to consider!

  6.   Sharon Boydon 02 Dec 2010 at 8:38 pm 6

    Hi Sian and Noreen,

    Thank you both so much for your comments. This task was a real challenge for me – my original task had a lot of direction, similar to our current tasks on the equine science programme, and it took a lot for me to peel away all that. I was concerned that I had gone too far – Edwards and his fallibility, or the anxiety-inducing and disquieting practice that you mention in your article Sian, and something which it sounds like you totally understand too Noreen! :)

    What this highlighted for me is not just my fear to release control, fear of producing a task that doesn’t “work” for the students, but also an awareness that we do exert too much control – a safety net that the students perhaps come to expect. In so doing, we’re doing the students a disservice, as we’re not “nurturing in students… the ability to live with intellectual uncertainty” (Barnett, 2007, quoted in Bayne, 2010).

    Sian, the idea of a clearer narrative at the outset is just what this needs – it felt a bit “thin” on top. I love the idea of Imagining the Futurehorse (I love cheese :) ), and I’m still trying to fit in Martin’s “horseology”.

    We’re moving the behaviour and welfare course into a 20-credit course the year after next, so I’m going to tweak this and hopefully include it as part of the larger course structure – and I’ll be excited to see the results!

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