Midterms are approaching faster than I think both the students and the teachers are ready to admit. Last minute assessments and project submissions are happening, and as much as we are all trying to alleviate the stress of this time of year, we are all feeling it. Why should Innovation Lab feel different? But oddly it does, if only a little bit. Some parts of the program ignore the arbitrary boundaries of quarters or semesters and the projects will continue. Some projects are finishing, but there are still aeroponic plants that have survived the holiday break, and although the final sophomore computer math projects were due yesterday, they extend their work into a chemical/physical piece that bridges both Humanities and STEM that will continue until the exhibition of their artwork at the Bruce Museum February 8th. The juniors are looking at representing their storyboard of the inner workings of governmental processes which will, next semester, transition into a mechanical piece of art that will tell the same story in motion.
Learning cannot be restricted by these arbitrarily decided boundaries. Deadlines should be based on the complexity of the project and be flexible to adjust to the needs on the project. Yes, the summative assessment of the term has its merit, but should everything come to a screeching halt when it comes to the educational process? I know we’ve taken to easing up on the assignments that need to be done before midterms, but everyday we still give time over to working on the current projects as well as working on review of first semester’s content. The projects are the chance for our students to explore what they want to explore and learn what they want to learn. The assessment for these big projects should come at a natural juncture, and thats where our focus should be. Midterms are still happening, and we can’t avoid that for now. But is that a true assessment of their skills? I am more looking forward to seeing the results of their labors that anyone can enjoy and learn from, than I am for breaking out the red pen and passing judgement on one exam.
Here’s to hoping that everyone takes a deep breath and gets through this exam period and then we can get back to real learning in 2017.