[EAS]In Real Time

pjk pjk at design.eng.yale.edu
Wed Oct 31 14:48:32 EST 2001

Subject:   In Real Time

(from INNOVATION, 31 October 2001)

Pulitzer prize-winning author Robert Olen Butler is moving his
creative  muse into cyberspace for his Florida State students,
allowing them to watch  him write his next story online in real
time. "My project... involves the  sharing of a fully elaborated,
moment-to-moment act of personal intimacy  formerly found only
behind the veil of private life, the act of creating a  piece of
literary fiction," says Butler. The writing will be viewable 
online and on a Florida educational channel for approximately three
weeks.  Butler says the idea is to enable his students to learn
from the creative  decisions as they are made. Students will be
able to e-mail him questions  during each writing session, which he
will answer at the end of the  episode. "I want the whole process
to be visible in real time on the  Internet," says Butler.
(Wired.com 30 Oct 2001)

Dear Colleagues -

I am struck by this as a metaphor. Usually what we teach in a
course is a careful distillate, partly because teaching is supposed
to achieve a goal in essence, partly because traditionally that's
what academics feel they are supposed to do when teaching. And
maybe it is not too much to hope that humility is still an
operative sentiment in condensing teaching material.

In some areas that concern me particularly, like product design,
the elements of the process, the "journey," are as instructive as
the goal. In teaching about design I try to model in my interaction
with students what I do personally as a designer. So the above item
makes me wonder what other "journeys" we could make visible with
information technology for teaching purposes, and even allow us to
embed the decision-making that is part of such journeys into a
context of more immediacy? 

Please give me feedback, to <peter.kindlmann at yale.edu>, about any
ideas this evokes.


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