What if we thought of our Transition Information Resource as a compendium of course material for real classes. At some point, the classes might actually be taught somewhere, maybe at the Folk School. Teaching a class is a good way to refine your presentation and ensure that the information is accessible to the audience. Questions from students point out weak areas of the presentation . The material in the Resource might evolve as the classes evolve in response to comments and evaluations by students.
The classes need not be highly academic – in the dry, stuffy sense. I’m guessing that much of what people need to know are actually skills, so there might be a lot of hands on work associated with most topics. I suppose those parts might be considered labs.
This structure would require our contributors to organize their information chunks of a digestible size, so as to fit it into a number of class sessions of moderate length. There might be a series of classes to cover larger and/or more complex topics: Personal Finance 101, 110, 120, for example. For some classes there could also be reading lists, to familiarize students with existing scholarship and classic works in each area.
Part of the idea is to be able to reach people in the community no matter what their optimum mode of learning may be. Those few people who are good at reading and comprehending might be able to meet their needs just by reference to material in the Resource. I suspect that the majority of people would greatly benefit from instruction in a class setting and interaction with others learning the same subjects. A compromise would be to have the classes videoed and available that way somehow.
I suspect there are enough academics around to help us with course design. Perhaps there could be a series of course “templates” that could be adapted to a variety of topics. It also suggests we might be in serious partnership with the Reskilling Workgroup.
So where other Transitions Towns and communities might publish an EDAP, we’ll open Whatcom Transition Univesity! I’d love to be able to sign my name with a “TrD” appended to it. That would be Doctor of Transition ...
OK, this is just another of Tris’ screwy ideas. But what do you think?
I LOVE THIS IDEA!! I suggest we put it on the adgenda for the next meeting.
Transition Whatcom University
Here is a possible news clip from an imagined future article in the Whatcom Watch:
"All Hail Transition Whatcom's University. In times of increasing resource scarcity our newest educational institution has been surpassing previously existing institutions of post-high-school education in ability to drive forward the production of goods, and services locally which are largely independent of the expensive and polluting fossil fuels." (This quote is fiction and is not meant to criticize our venerable institutions of secondary education)
How could we possibly imagine ourselves accomplishing this task, I ask?
My response to my own question:
I believe that we have a great amount of intelligence, skills, and natural resources available in our region. People in this area have harnessed these assets into a great variety of value creating activities- higher learning institutions, healthcare organizations, non-profit community service agencies, food farmers, arts and crafts producers, natural resource harvesters, and the list goes on... Producing great value for our community and the world.
At this point we only have 906 people registered on the Transition Whatcom website, but this does in no way mean that the only intelligent, hardworking, skillful, knowledgeable, and forward looking people are within that 900. I believe the number of people that live within Whatcom County, care about a good future for us, and are willing to work toward is much greater than that number. It will take some well planned efforts, and hard working people to get more engaged in the process of building resilience, but we can do it, we must do it.
Those of us using the Transition Whatcom website are not the only ones making efforts to build a resilient community, but we have begun a process with Transition Whatcom that is helping the effort along.
A Transition Whatcom University is an idea worthy of exploration...Anyone want to engage in this discussion and effort? We need all the Minds, Hearts, and Hands we can get.