So, my thoughts on this course coming into it were pretty lacking as to what reality is. Coming into this course I thought that the majority of it would be spent trying to get my major and my contract through the system. But actually, the majority of that was done external to class, and most of it not even done with in class help. Part of this is that we only meet once a week, but also because that is just not the way this class is.
Coming into this class I was a huge fan of IDS. I had been making connections and doing things that were interdisciplinary for years. And I was certain it would be fun and interesting to say the least. I knew that it would be cool seeing people and the way their brains see the world that mine doesn’t, and I was not entirely wrong either.
It was fun to see how other people make “obvious” connections in the world and blur the lines of disciplines, but it was also very difficult to see how this thing I love “Inter disciplinary study” is being seen as this “new age” movement. Which is false, and disheartening to see. It made me further dislike the institution of education.
I am not one who tests well, I am one who learns through lectures and doing the thing, but then I cannot test well. I do the thing, but I can’t answer the questions in the correct order properly. So I have never thrived in the institutions of education, while I thrive brilliantly in the more open world of music. So I have not had a great experience with education to begin with, and the idea that IDS was making a comeback in the institution of education seemed great to me! But I quickly saw that it was being spun to give the institution a pat on the back for allowing this to happen. It seemed that way while doing most of the readings, and I am not a fan of that.
I am, however, a huge fan of Open Education and OERs (open educational resources). Sometimes they are hard to actually accomplish, but it is not impossible for them to exist. In music, it is fairly reasonable to be able to teach yourself. If you can get your hands on some OERs and have the discipline (no pun intended) to bust out some time practicing and teaching yourself you can learn an instrument. Now that is true for most of music, not all, but it is fairly frequent.
In physics it is not always the same. Even if you find some OERs, which are not hard to find, it can sometimes actually lead you astray. Just because you are pretty sure that you know what to do when solving for theta, it is not always intuitive why you are solving for theta and why we look at waves as lines in the grand scheme of things. Sometimes it actually confuses more than it helps. I have first hand experience with this. It took me years to finally admit I had no idea why I solved for theta and got the wrong angle that would be coming out of that speaker. I asked my mentor and he explained it so simply that I wish I had just asked him years ago instead of trying to learn it on my own.
Now, does this mean I do not support OERs, and Open education, of course not. I support them wholeheartedly. I just think that there are times where it the OERs ought to flag things as “incredibly convoluted and backwards and not correctly logical, please seek additional help.” I do think that connected learning is not all that it is cracked up to be. I inherently distrust humans, and in music and physics failing and making mistakes is very easy and has dire consequences. If we shared all that we learn I suspect we might be sharing the wrong things, and when some humans see our failure they have a tendency to dig into them to prop themselves up, which I don’t believe is a good thing for high schoolers to have more of.
I am a cynic. I believe that IDS does not matter to Universities. I believe that Universities use IDS strictly as a way to show how “diverse and open” they are “I mean look: we have an IDS program with a budget! Doesn’t that just scream open and diverse! We are looking to our students to help us make this a better place.” But in reality, I do not think that any institution would hire someone with an IDS degree to higher education without another disciplined degree. This does not mean that IDS is not important to the world. It is vital to the world that people keep seeing connections in different disciplines of study and seeing how to integrate them. Many of the world’s greatest inventions are because of that. I believe that those who are trained to blur the lines are better equipped to face the real world and reality than those who aren’t, despite the fact that people sell IDS as not being “training for a job”.
As for the future, I hope it holds something good in store. But I am slightly disappointed that it might not. I do not know how well PSU is feeding the IDS program. But I do know that it is trying to look open and diverse and on the cutting edge, so it might continue the program well. My future I am secure in regardless of how IDS goes. I am not getting a degree to get a job, I am getting a degree because I want to and I want to learn.