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A Classroom Leaves the Syllabus to the Students -
"“We got a group together and said what we wanted to do, and the administration just said, ‘O.K., ask for any equipment or advice you need,’ ” said Colleen Perry, who is studying bioengineering. “We’ve definitely made mistakes, but it’s probably the first time in our lives that we’re not getting a grade and we don’t have anyone telling us what to do.”"

"A summer program with no course credit, no set curriculum to cover, no competing class schedule and no penalty for failure frees students to experiment, said Alan J. Snyder, a vice president and associate provost at Lehigh. Eventually, the university plans to offer the program year-round, with many more students involved.

“The lines between the classroom and the lab, the workshop, need to blur,” he said. “Especially in an era where the textbook is old before the ink is dry, students need to be independent thinkers, discoverers.”

A growing number of universities want to provide students with adaptable spaces for innovation, particularly for graduate students in applied sciences whose ideas might turn into businesses — such so-called incubator spaces are an integral part of Cornell’s plan for a new graduate school in New York City. Few schools have the extra room, but Lehigh does, in a former Bethlehem Steel complex on a hilltop just south of campus, which the university bought and has renovated over many years.

One building acquired last year, with open floors and high ceilings like an aircraft hangar, has become home to the mountaintop program.

Some of the projects here are based in the humanities, social science or business, but the largest number involve engineering and computing — on subjects such as robotics, composting, innovative playground structures, security for cloud computing, ventilation for cooking huts, water purification and a “smart house” controlled from the owner’s phone.

The teams have a small budget for supplies and travel, and each student receives a stipend — $450 a week for undergrads, $600 for graduate students — to make up for not having a summer job."
t  lecsnmy  openstudioproject  education  learning  unschooling  deschooling  lcproject  curriculum  freedom  innovation  grades  grading  howwelearn  cv  lehighuniversity 
july 2014 by robertogreco

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