I have been thinking quite a bit about how all of the different tools we preview and discuss in this course are and are not pedagogically friendly. The “rhetoric of construction” as described in the Bonnett seems entirely promising, but I cannot help but think of it alongside an article I read for another course in which students were text encoding historical documents. The latter article claimed that students gained a deeper appreciation and closer read of the text through this process. I do not doubt this I so; yet I thought it dramatically undersold the level of tedium involved in such a task. I don’t know enough about the construction of 3d environments to make such a critique, but I think the general question applies nonetheless. So long as much of the technological projects we pursue are fairly work and time intensive, how well do they fit into a course like history or English where there is much to do and not much time to do it?
I wonder about this primarily for my own practical purposes. I would like to have my own future students go through this type of learning by putting together in a semi literal manner the pieces of what they study, but I worry about the investment to payoff ratio of time spent and even about it perhaps being exploitative at some extremes.
To avoid these problems, are we relegated to boring but quick and easy for the time being? Can we structure more undergraduate courses to be, frankly, like this one, where there is a lab component alongside a more analytical approach? I also wonder what a constructionist approach might mean for breadth of subject matter. It would, seem that a course based in construction as a means of engagement would need to be decidedly more narrow in its focus. I don’t think that is necessarily a bad thing, but the trade off seems worth questioning.