Sandy Roberson sent a note to professors at Furman University and Denison University in mid-December with a simple message.“Failure is not an option,” she wrote on a discussion board frequented by a few dozen other academics.Three weeks later, the veteran Furman accounting professor reconsidered and abandoned her assignment. She had been bested by a Rubik’s cube.Ms. Roberson was among roughly 30 faculty members from the two schools who had signed on to a winter-break challenge: learn to solve the cube-shaped puzzle in five minutes or less, within six weeks. And, in the process, learn to become better instructors by being reminded what it’s like to be a novice.“After you do something for a very long time, it just becomes second nature,” said Lew Ludwig. The math professor at Denison, in Granville, Ohio, runs the school’s Center for Learning and Teaching and coordinated the challenge with a counterpart at Furman, in Greenville, S.C. The schools are members of an organization for faculty development at small colleges. “The brain does not like new stuff,” he said. “Learning is hard.”
Amen to that! Read the rest of this article by Melissa Korn.
Thanks to Senior Academic Technologist Brandon Bucy for sharing this great article AND these thoughts:
“I’ve always thought the expert-novice divide is one of the hardest things to get around when teaching. We honestly forget how much we struggled in the past with a concept before mastering it, and can’t relate to our struggling students or really help them in a meaningful way except to encourage them to continue the struggle. I think in a way it represents the internally chaotic nature of learning, that “learning” itself is somehow non-rememberable once you get through it.”