International Cultural Studies at Aalborg University, Denmark

International Cultural Studies is an interesting program at Aalborg University that is offerred in multiple languages and which is taught through Project Themes:

Projects take their starting point in practical problems or theoretical topics, which are related to your course work. Each study programme investigates a different topic each semester. Lectures and seminars are offered to prepare students for project work on problems within that topic.

Apparently 50% of the instruction is through project work around themes. They seem to have short two week intensive themes and longer ones. A colleague in Political Science pointed me to this program.

The Da Vinci Effect: Carnegie Mellon Gift Tour

The Da Vinci Effect is a fundraising campaign by Carnegie Mellon that is touring the US and which bills itself as a “multisensory theatrical event”. From the digital video is seems to involve an actor dressed up like Leonardo who coordinates a multimedia show.
What is interesting is how Carnegie Mellon is focusing on the intersection of arts and technology and using Leonardo as an iconic figure for that interesection. They aren’t promoting Italian studies or Renaissance studies, but the combination of entertainment and technology. I wonder what Leonardo would have pushed as a curriculum for effect?
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Florida: “America’s Looking Creativity Crisis”

Richard Florida, who has made popular the phrase, the Creative Class, recently published an article, “America’s Looking Creativity Crisis” in the Harvard Business Review of October, 2004.
In a report prepared for the Ontario Ministry of Enterprise, Opportunity and Innovation (who comes up with these awful titles), he and others, argue that,

Creativity has replaced raw materials or natural harbours as the crucial wellspring of economic growth. To be successful in this emerging creative age, regions must develop, attract and retain talented and creative people who generate innovations, develop technologyintensive industries and power economic growth. Such talented people are not spread equally
across nations or places, but tend to concentrate within particular city-regions. The most successful city-regions are the ones that have a social environment that is open to creativity and diversity of all sorts. The ability to attract creative people in arts and culture fields and to be open to diverse groups of people of different ethnic, racial and lifestyle groups provides distinct advantages to regions in generating innovations, growing and attracting hightechnology
industries, and spurring economic growth. (Competing On Creativity: Placing Ontario’s Cities in North American Context, Meric S. Gertler, Richard Florida, Gary Gates, and Tara Vinodrai. November 2002. Report prepared for the Ontario Ministry of Enterprise, Opportunity and Innovation and the Institute for Competitiveness and Prosperity.)

It is depressing where Hamilton is in many of the indexes in the report – usually below the Canadian average, except in the “Diversity and Mosaic Index.”
Continue reading Florida: “America’s Looking Creativity Crisis”

Stanford: Innovations in Learning

ideo, a design company, has a neat site up on their ideas for the Stanford Center for Interactive Learning. The site shows different types of learning spaces they are designing for Stanford. I like how they imagine pods and walls. The site design is also clean and easy to explore.
Stanford has their own site on Wallenberg Hall (where the Center is) that gives lots of details on the rooms. See Wallenberg Hall – especially the section on “exploring WH”.
These links are courtesy of Audrey Carr.

Arizona State: Arts, Media and Engineering

Arts, Media and Engineering is an interdisciplinary focus that crosses a series of departments from Engineering to Theatre. It is hard to tell if it is a real intersection or a naming exericise. There don’t seem to be any new programs, just “concentrations” in existing ones. There do, however, seem to be shared spaces built to bring them together.

The goal of the Arts, Media and Engineering Program is transdisciplinary research and education in the integrated development of media technologies and content with a focus on experiential media.

This was from Andrew Mactavish.

Global and Civil Learning

Here is an interview by a McMaster student with my new colleague Henry Giroux that puts well the challenge we face in teaching civic and moral responsibility. (DV) Rahmani: Interview with Henry Giroux.

McMaster is capable of attaining the highest quality of excellence in the traditional sense, but I think it is also providing a new model of excellence, one that measures a university in terms of how it addresses the needs of civic society on both a national and global level. There is a certain worldliness about McMaster, a sense of being in the world, being attentive to the civic quality of a larger global public sphere. This means, in part, taking seriously what it means to educate students to be critically engaged, civic citizens of the world.