Monday, October 20, 2008

Mid-Semester Review

We enter now the second half of the semester on this, the last day of summer. This week’s assignment is to make sure you have met the goals for midsemester and posted the best possible iteration of your work on your blog by the deadline of Sunday October 26th at 8am.

These goals include:
1) Three TimeLines on history & the past; lighting; and functionalism. Each TimeLine should present a point of view about your chosen subject matter. Be sure to clearly state the big picture questions raised by your TimeLine case study. When possible, please reference web links so that other people can easily follow up and read more. Remember also that all writing in your blog should be your own, or it is plagiarism. Finally, as a professional, be sure to proof your work for grammar and spelling before you send it out into the world.

2) Also due posted on your blog by Sunday October 26th at 8am is a thoughtful, well-crafted 1000-word essay that develops some aspect of the material we have covered in class, or, some aspect of your own TimeLines. You might decide to choose one image from one of your timelines to expand upon, or you might like to develop a theme that ran across all three TimeLines. This is up to you. If you have questions, feel free to email me. I will respond to any draft sent to me by Saturday October 25th at 8am.

I am assuming that the possibilities offered by this essay are clear after our class discussion today. Please feel free to use this essay as a chance to think through some idea or case study example/s that suggest a complication requiring further reflection. Do challenge and re-examine your accepted ideas. Strive to be honest about if and how you walk the talk you are espousing. Be open to risk in this essay of exploration, revision, editing, and a final structure that may be tentative, but is still clear and communicating.

As a class, our goal will be to use these essays to promote respectful dialogue about complex questions that no one has “solved”. What are the issues? What is someone else challenging you to think about that might complicate or compromise your own position? How can we go against the grain of much civic life today and have people with different points of view hear one another and engage in respectful communication? How can we demand of ourselves that we move beyond clichés to think critically about complex issues? How do we achieve balance and integrity within ourselves and in respect to larger and larger communities? If your topic takes you here, feel free to address the difference and implication in your mind of advocating a paradigm shift vs. reform, or, in contrast, the response of those who might believe, with Calvin Coolidge, that the business of America is business, and by implication that design is subordinate to the business needs of capitalist growth? What criteria do you use to feel your ideas are “right”?

These essays will take time and come into focus over the week as you draft, think, and revise. Remember, I am a skilled writer, and I almost never finish more than three pages a day. Please meet the deadline for posting of Sunday October 25th at 8am. I expect the whole class to read as many blog essays as possible before class on Monday morning so we can begin with discussion and dialogue about our understanding of design, its history, and your role as a designer now and into an uncertain future. I look forward to it. You are the future.

(PS. This is what 618 words looks like.)

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