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Date: Mon, 24 Apr 1995 00:39:19 -0400
From: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: Q#3: Students' role reply
Sender: "Higher Education Processes Discussion (HEPROC)"
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Approved-By:  Carl Reimann <[log in to unmask]>
Comments: To: [log in to unmask]
 
In his recent posting, John Wong juxtaposed Bob Birnbaum's
concerns on the "service provider" concept of the LO that I
had painted.  John listed four implications.
 
"(1) The individual consumer is ultimately responsible for
   'learning.'
 
(2) Teachers are charged with providing the best possible
    service as facilitators, but are no longer charged with
    the responsibility that their students 'must learn.'
 
(3) Schools, while erected to provide the best possible
    learning resources, need not NECESSARILY be responsible
    for the actual consumption of such services and
    resources, or for that matter REQUIRE that learning in
    fact takes place as long as students happily or
    routinely show up.
 
(4) Grading is clearly irrelevant, and so is teaching
    when not required."
 
I am not sure that these implications necessarily follow in
what is meant by a LO.  From what I understand,
responsibility in the LO is meant to be shared.  I admit,
that I have a difficult time with this concept in practice
but I think that is what the LO concept suggests. Grades, as
an assessment of progress, would continue to be relevant to
all participants, who share in responsibility for learning.
 
Considering the McDonald's example, I think what the LO
suggests, with its focus on systemic influences, is that the
McDonald's counter server is very much impacted by a
customer's decision to eat the hamburger.  If people don't
purchase and eat hamburgers, the counter server may find
himself without a job, no matter how good the hamburgers
were.  I think what is frustrating for the counter server is
that he or she feels little control over what the purcha ser
does, (or what the cook prepares).  This seems to be the
inherent nature of being part of a system.
 
I don't think the LO suggests a customer service model for
education which places ultimate responsibility for learning
with the student or that grading, (as assessment), becomes
irrelevant.  I think the LO concept suggests that all
members of the system both influence and are impacted by the
learning experience and therefore, each is jointly
responsible for the outcome.  I am not sure I fully
understand or accept this, but I think this is what Senge is
suggesting.  And, I have found that by paying attention to
my students' needs, (and those of the taxpayers who support
our institution financially), I am better able to design
learning activities, (and measurements), that meet their
needs--and mine.  I realize this is what conscientious
instructors have done for many generations past and, for
them, the LO isn't really anything new.  I would agree.
 
As an educator, I find it amusing that most "dialogues"
about the LO are concerned with the processes of
"organization" and rarely consider the process es of
"learning".  Relationships, which are fundamental to all
human organizations, seem to be shaped by what people learn
from and about each other.  Thus, an understanding of how
people learn would seem important.  It might follow then,
that a lack of consideration for the processes of learning
might make it difficult to apply the LO concept to all units
of the organization, especially those involved directly in
the formation of these relationships?
 
cherie gracie
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