The summer is about relaxation…kidding. I’m playing catch up and planning grand plans. I’m developing projects that blend teaching, research, and service into a holistic experience. Bold words, but the reality is that I made the jump to Michigan State University with the goal of doing more. Afrofantastic, my Afrofuturism course, was designed around the idea of producing a project, the original course structure envision assignment linked to outcome related to that final project. Each assignment gave students a chance to build understanding and apply that to critical making project that balanced individual intepretation and scholarly debates about Afrofuturism.
Arrivals 1 & 2 is a demo I created to get them to think through an assignment called Iconography. For better or worst, 21st century learner often are not comfortable without an example to follow. Think of this as “The Curse of Structured Learning” or” I’ve been tested for years and everything I am suppose to know I was told and I could just repeat it back and get an A.” The last part was snarky (this is my blog, not your blog). Anyway, the unstructured learning can be stress inducing. This is why my syllabi are so long. They have a lot of explantation about what we are doing and why. This is a necessary part of my process. Part of the syllabus process is laying the groundwork around what, how and why we do. Yet, at the end of the day, there is a grey area. I often can’t predict outcomes, every person is different and the decision for each individual class create a culture that organically creates its own kind of language of learning and doing. I think I have probably burned through some lifeforce doing classes this way (again, this my blog and I am geeky). Nonetheless, I feel like I’m at a crucial moment in the summer down/prep time.
Planning for next fall’s Afrofantastic has to take into account the class is projected to be double the size of my first year class (100 instead of 50) and I’m getting back to practices that were more common to me class practice at my old job. So, more hands, more archive driven, and more public engagement around the material.
If you are interested in Afrofuturism, MSU will be the place to be in the Fall. I’m bringing John Jennings and Stacey Robinson, aka Black Kirby to campus in September and the Utopian Studies Society meeting will happen in October. I have other things in the work, that I will be rolling out in the fall.
Wish me luck!