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We are so excited by all of the discussions that have been produced from our students posts. What a great learning experience for all involved! We never imagined how much this would engage our students and push them to respond, react, think and be passionate about typography and design! (Our classroom discussions have been quite lively.)
Although New Orleans is an interesting and diverse city, it is somewhat sheltered from the current contemporary design/type mainstream due in some part to Katrina and in some part to being in the gulf coast. As faculty, it's our job to expose the students to new and different forums that are more easily experienced in a larger metro area (ie: NYC, Chicago, LA), this is in part the reason we decided to require our students to create a blog on Typophile. We chose Typophile because we respected the level of information being shared and discussed.
We recognize our role in our students' lives as being somewhat limited, in the sense that we are all they get for 4 yrs. It felt as though we needed to encourage them to put their work out in the community and get "real time" feedback, no matter how harsh that feedback might be. That is part of the pedagogy of our teaching. We do give them assignments and state what we are looking for specifically, but the students are ultimately the ones in charge of how they post their findings. We do not create assignments that are unfounded or without purpose, just as people who post or reply to threads on Typophile don't do it just for the sake of taking up air time (we hope). We think the reality is that some students (just as professionals) will post because they "need" to (whatever the reason, a grade or filling up space, or really wanting to share ideas/thoughts/projects).
We stress to our students that design is so much more than just making and sitting in front of the computer, it's also about thinking, writing, speaking, critiquing. We are so proud of our students for putting themselves out there (for better or worse). We should also note that many of our students have ended up in the "hottest" or "hand picked" areas of the site.
Discussions are in progress with the Typophile team.
Thank you to all the students who have participated with this conversation. We commend you for your passion and fortitude. And, don't forget, your next blog is due on Sunday at 5pm.