Project in Interdisciplinary Group Study: a definition [written in September, 1969]
This project is an attempt to release the student from the stranglehold of institutionalized, channelized courses. The student has to learn how to use his freedom and imagination, and has to decide for himself what he wants out of his education without the fear of not being supervised. He must find room for independent experimentation and co-operation with so-called adults -- he has to be a human equal with his presumed intellectual superior.
In this project we are trying to combine experience with education and make our learning "problem-solving," that is, answering the questions that life poses. Most of us are going to try to gain this experience through interaction with the community. In giving ourselves jobs which service the community around us we place ourselves in the position of seeing the life that many times we know only through a book or a lecture. Of course purely the experiential can't always be trusted because we each are limited, prejudiced people who most of the time tend to see things the way we want to. But hopefully this experience will provide a basis for discussion, research, and further, deeper experience.
Because this is all based on problems or needs (personal or otherwise) some may use this project simply to find out what they need or what problems there are to be solved or perhaps how to attack a problem imaginatively.
Being a group of friends who live in close proximity the project becomes more than an individual (or personal) enterprise. I think discussion will be easier and more lively; we'll really want to do things together because we enjoy each other's company; and we'll feel personally committed to each other and will to help one another in difficulty. Being involved in different majors or at different levels in the same major all of us will have different interests, insights, and contributions to make to the learning of all.
[This has special resonance for me in 1999, as a foreshadowing of my commitment to learning communities and self-managed teams.]
[back to "Learning Notes: Senior Year"]