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Media Preparations
Spring 2004

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Created: July 27, 2003
Latest Update: January 22, 2004

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Site Teaching Modules CRMJ 490-01: Media, Crime, and Criminal Justice
Class and Internet Discussions
You will be held accountable for purposes of grading for the readings and exercises listed here. There will be no "testing." That means that you will not have to live in anxious anticipation of what we will ask and how much you will have to know. Instead, we will provide weekly discussion questions, lectures, essays, and concepts we feel that you should know as a result of having taken this course. You will assure us of that learning and receive your grade for the questions and concepts about which you choose to write and talk with us. In addition you will find detailed explanations and examples on our grading policies in the first week's reading.

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Week 1 and 2: Week of January 18, 2004 and January 25, 2004
Academic Assessment of Learning: The Technical Term for Grading Policy

    Topic: Grades are required by the college. The following readings will explain our grading policy. These readings will be in addition to the textual readings this first week.

    Preparatory Readings:

    • Academic Assessment in Credited Course Learning What Susan calls the 5 C's, or qualities we look for in grading. Please don't ask how much is enough, when it's good enough for an A, and such. No one can tell you when a term paper is long enough, when it is an A, or any such nonsense. You're not working for a grade. You're working to learn. And this file will give you extremely concrete details on how to do that. And you don't usually know if you got an A on a term paper until you get it back. We think our system gives you much more detailed and accurate feedback. Use it.
    • Maintaining Consistency in Academic Accountability An explanation of consistency as "discipline," and how to maintain it as a measure of your learning.
    • Discovering Your Identity in Learning This essay covers a very specific example of how we measure your learning, particularly when that learning is latent. Like you recognize a word, but you can't remember what it means. And we tell you how to record that with us as learning.
    • Authentication of Knowledge as Interdependent Forms to Guide Us Through Interactive Measures. Particularly at the latent stage of learning, it's hard to tell someone what you've learned. We focus on that with a vocabulary learning example in Discovering Your Identity in Learning. In this file we try to offer numerous examples that will help you identify learning in the latent stage. Link created June 29, 1999. Updated July 28, 2003.
    • Measuring Learning without The Learner A brief essay on how we do this to children, and we misperceive so dreadfully their creative learning. To share with your kids and friends.

      More Advanced Theoretical Background for our Grading Policy:

    • The Aesthetics of Answerability
    • Why jeanne says don't just answer the questions. Important that you see how our work is answerable and how that relates to aesthetics and how that relates to the creative merging of self and Other, both as individuals and as members of the academic system. Authority assumes the right to answer in one direction only.

    Lecture: Time Management for Study in a World Without Discretionary Time

    Concepts to be covered:

    Discussion Questions:

    1. What role does the aesthetics of answerability play in the grading policy for Media, Crime, and Criminal Justice?

      Consider that monologic non-answerability would leave you without an interdependent role in the measurement of your grade. That objectifies you. Objectification means that you are treated as an object without valid ideas and opinions, expected to absorb those given to you. Answerability means that we attempt not to objectify you, and promise to listen in good faith to your ideas and validity claims. You may think you don't care; you don't have any particular claims about knowingness. Not so. Silencing, which is typical of our educational system (See The Educational Octopus.) merely has taught you greater comfort with the passivity of not bothering to answer.

      What does answerability have to do with the media? Consider that the media are a source of utterances which remain unanswerable. What we mean by that is that freedom of speech is so interpreted that we may not censor the media, except in the rarest of circumstances (like measures dependent on terrorism).A recent CBS (I think) review of the Central Park Rape gave much of the blame for the misprosecution of the five young Black males to the press for its unthinking acceptance and reporting of the way the trial was conducted. The prosecutors agreed that in the climate of revenge and fear created by the coverage, it was hard for them to fight the trend and conceptualize alternative crime theories. Although the press didn't take an oath to find justice, and the prosecutors did, this does illustrate the power of the press. The media have a certain power of answerability in holding the government and private sectors to account. But it's relatively easy, in face of crisis, to abdicate that role of answerability and go with the dominant discourse. The public's ability to answer the press is not nearly as clear-cut. The media are generally corporate-owned, corporate-controlled, and powerful in their ability to disseminate ideas. This is another area in which answerability will be an issue in this course.

    2. Do the five C's offer you an opportunity to count efforts towards your learning that have not been counted before? How do you feel about that?

      We rarely consider the consistency of your efforts. That's because neither you nor we have thought to record them. Your efforts must be measured by self-report data, what you tell us you do. Some don't trust such data, although much of criminal justice data come in this form. We do trust self-report, when it is appropriately considered with other measures. Besides, you'd be surprised how much brains it takes to report specific details without showing marked inconsistency that expose untruths.

      We also rarely allow you to define "competency" in terms of where the material fits in your lived experience, and how you will use it. There's little sense in having those of you who are taking a course for general interest display the exact same competencies as those who expect to become professionals in the field that uses the course as early training for that field. Again that means that we must know who you are and what your intentions for this learning are. Such knowledge should and does alter our perception of competence.

      Consider similar arguments with the other skills we try to measure.

    3. How do you feel about being told that you have to be creative to get an A? How different from that is any traditional grading system?

      Consider being told that you must be creative is scary, because we have long considered creativity a special gift. It's not. We're all creative. Witness the recent TV ads that tell you to think outside the box, or the pizza, or whatever. Creativity is as simple as making the learning fit you. Once again, see that I'm back to identity. Not the kind of identity that would violate your privacy. But the kind that says I'd rather talk to you in the hallways than in class. Or I'd rather write this. Or I'm terrified of writing, can we please just talk? We are asking to know your learning identity and your learning goals. That is because they are interdependent with your actual learning. Once you've defined who you are as a learner, creativity comes naturally with fitting what you've learned into who you are. And failure usually exits the scene along with that kind of creativity. How can you fail to be you? And to hear new things within that context of who you are as a learner?

      How different is this from traditional grading? Not so much, in the sense that teachers always say that an A represents the exceptional. Now what's the exceptional but the creative? Teachers may give you 14 criteria and tell you that if all those criteria are present you will have an A. But there's always room for judgment on each of those criteria. There is no perfect world in which we can regimentalize your learning and have you respond like robots and call that learning.

      What's the main difference between what we're asking and traditional grading? Answerability. That there be an Other, you, who thinks and feels and reacts to the concepts, readings, and discussions we have as part of our learning. And that that Other has the power to answer us, and in that aesthetic process of answering, affects us, whether he/she will or no.

    4. Why is computer literacy essential for effective work in this course? How do you acquire that literacy?

      Consider that there is no way for me to respond to this much material, allow you to respond, and allow all of us to join in those response without the Internet. A book doesn't do it, because the book is basically unanswerable. So texts provide us with material. But we must provide the aesthetic of answerability to the ideas expressed in that text. For that we need this site. So you need to learn to find your way comfortably around the site. That's minimal literacy that will count on your job skills.

      Consider the vast range of media access allowed you by the Internet:

      Left/Right Perspectives - Cursor - New York Times
      Arts and Letters Daily - The Economist - The Guardian
      Wall Street Journal -The Weekly Standard - The Nation
      Los Angeles Times - Chicago Tribune - The Washington Post
      Cursor's Al Jazeera Archive - Ha'aretz - Palestine Monitor

      Indymedia - BBC News - New Profile - Progressive Sociologists Network

      How do you acquire the literacy? In our lab sessions, with other students who are caring enough to help, sometimes, if you're lucky, with our computer lab techs. Budget has really hit tutoring help in many of our schools. But we encourage all of you to help those who need that help, in understanding a concept, in gaining comfort with the computer. If you're lost, be sure to let us know. We'll do our best to find you help.

      Now, check the Minimum Requirements for Media, Crime and Criminal Justice - Weeks 1 and 2. E-Mail Icon

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