The Miami Plan Redesign

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Miami Plan Model Prototypes

These 4 PowerPoints represent new models that the redesign Task Force has drafted for consideration.  It’s unlikely that any one of these designs will come to be the lead model, but they indicate components that Miami may eventually combine or reshape to form a new Miami Plan. The Task Force seeks your feedback with a survey on the draft models, linked here.  The survey closes on April 10.  Otherwise, please post your comments/questions/ideas in the space below.

Streams Model Presentation
Theme Model Presentation
Cohort Cluster Model Presentation
Badges and Certificates Presentation


7 Responses to “Home”

  • Elizabeth George says:

    For background, I am a current freshman at Miami.
    One concern I have is a consistent theme of making our education relevant.

    Another concern is the “Big Questions Series”…is this all about critical thinking? Critical thinking is a necessary skill and has to be integrated in EVERY course, not just one course developing how students ask questions.

    I think something more useful to the STREAMS idea is if a lecture series is designed to accommodate the available streams in a specific way to each stream. The way the honors program has clusters and those clusters meet together once a week in the first semester for a reflective class should be the same for these streams. In a once a week class, the students could complete a project relating the aspects of diverse classes within a stream to one another. They should complete a paper/project/etc. on how those concepts can pull together to form a new idea or why the concepts in those diverse classes have to be relatable.

    The second option (Theme-Model) has one really good target that I saw – a focus on competencies rather than disciplines. Certain basic skills are so relevant to any discipline. People must be able to think critically and communicate ideas effectively. I think where we fall short though is not helping students understand how those skills relate to their fields. The overall purpose and structure of the theme-model was vague, though, and hard to understand what the direction of that is.

    I wrote above comments in order of reading and as I come to the third option, I realize that this is similar to the current Honors program and is similar to what I envision at Miami. A large problem with this plan is how to assess e-portfolios and how these are relevant. I find that the purpose behind an e-portfolio needs to be clearer. I haven’t been communicated the purpose besides “self-reflection,” but what is this self-reflection giving me? Is it supposed to be critical thinking? Is it supposed to show me that I have a lack of experience in certain breadth of learning areas? I think another problem is the amount of clusters. More broad and basic clusters should be offered so the total amount of clusters is lessened. For some of these classes, I can’t imagine that having a lecture style class would be bad. However, an outside seminar that connects these clusters and makes the broad cluster specifically relevant should be required. Many of these small-group seminars should be offered.

    Within the badge model, I like the idea that not all experiences have to be credit earning. Actually, students should even be required to have an outside experience like an internship, work experience, volunteer experience, etc. Networking is an important skill related to getting outside experiences and by requiring students to have outside experiences, you encourage the development of the networking process. With this model overall, I agree with the question, is it really different from what we have now? What really is the point of changing to it?

  • Bruce D'Arcus says:

    Here’s my problem with how these are presented:

    1) goals of the redesign are unclear

    2) as a consequence, it’s very difficult to understand the relation among these plans; how they compare in terms of how they achieve particular goals

    3) for this reason, as well, asking people what they think (as in surveys) will yield poor results

    On “badges,” this an emerging notion of certifying learners on particular focused competencies. See, for example, the Open Badges project for examples. If we explained it clearly this way, in relation to specific redesign goals, then perhaps it would have broader support?

    • tassonjp says:

      Thanks, Bruce. The models are far from complete, and we wanted them to remain fluid so that ideas can be changed/combined along the way. Rather than yielding scientific results, responses at this point help give us a sense of the temperature, but also as to where/how the conversation can move forward, what else needs to be explained, considered, etc. Your link to “Open Badges,” for example,will be helpful in reshaping/representing that model.

      • Bruce D'Arcus says:

        John – I think you misunderstand my point. It is that you can’t reasonably gauge even “temperature” without good survey design. This survey will not do what you want it to do.

        If people don’t understand what we’re trying to do with the redesign, and what the parameters of possibilities are, how are they supposed to form an opinion about very specific alternatives?

        In this case, there’s way too much information, much of it overlapping, such that it’s virtually impossible, without spending hours (or days?) of time most of us don’t have, to understand how different options relate, or differ.

        Did you run the survey by people on campus with expertise in survey design? If not, I suggest you do so before making too much of the results.

        Beyond the survey, the committee needs to get more clear about what it’s doing, and why, or the results of your work will likely not enjoy the broad support they otherwise could. That clarity needs to frame everything you do, particularly when you’re engaging the broader community.

  • Marianne Cotugno says:

    At Senate, the “Badges and Certificates” model seemed to have the least support. I wonder if part of that is due to the terminology. When I think “Badges,” I think of YELP, or the Girl Scouts or Boy Scouts. “Certificates” already are used to describe a particular type of academic program at the University.

    • Pascal Massie says:

      Indeed, although this is not the only reason by far, the terminology is unfortunate.

    • Janet Burge says:

      The survey didn’t give any information about the certificates and badges – it’s hard to state an opinion about something where there isn’t information describing what we are commenting on.

      I find the terminology very off-putting – too many people try to use certifications as a substitute for actual experience in computer science (there are lots of certification programs where someone takes an exam and gets “certified” in some technology based on their score) and badges sound like something kids would collect in scouting, not adults in college.

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