February 24, 2014

Cathy Davidson “Education 2.0″

Rhode Island School of Design (RISD)
Photo by Cathy Davidson.

Davidson is co-founder of Humanities, Arts, Sciences and Technology Advanced Collaboratory (HASTAC–”haystack”), a virtual network of more than 8,000 innovators worldwide inspired by the possibilities of new technologies for shaping how we learn, teach, communicate, create and organize our local and global communities. She is also the author of Now You See It: How the Brain Science of Attention Will Transform the Way We Live, Work and Learn. Dr. Davidson teaches at Duke University, where she holds the positions of John Hope Franklin Humanities Institute Professor of Interdisciplinary Studies and Ruth F. Devarney Professor of English.

Mapping Learning, a year-long series of public talks, panels and workshops, provides opportunities for faculty, students and staff to reflect on the changing contexts of teaching and learning at RISD—and in the world. The series is designed to foster discussion about how RISD’s institutional and disciplinary traditions shape specific types of understanding, identity and practice, and how evolving theories of cognition, participation or “unlearning” spark new approaches to education.

“Our rapidly changing economy and culture, and advances in technology, are posing serious challenges for higher education,” states RISD Interim President Rosanne Somerson. “This series demonstrates our continued commitment to innovative teaching and examines how RISD’s rigorous and immersive approach to art and design education is adapting to new conditions while reinforcing the value and importance of experiential learning and ‘critical making’.”

“We are pleased that diverse Mapping Learning events have provided opportunities for our community to come together to reflect critically about a RISD education,” notes interim Dean of Liberal Arts Daniel Cavicchi, who organized the series with Dean of Foundation Studies Joanne Stryker. “We are very excited that Cathy Davidson is coming to campus, especially since she will have just led an extraordinary 14,000-person MOOC experiment called The History and Future of (Mostly) Higher Education. Her provocative thinking—rooted in her pioneering work on the history of reading—continues to cultivate shared inquiry and debate among all of us who care about education.”

Fall 2013 Mapping Learning events included a public panel on the past, present and future of art schools; a faculty discussion on critique as a pedagogical practice led by Woodrow Wilson Fellow Paula Crawford, professor at George Mason; a workshop on departmental assessment with Barbara Walvoord; a lecture by evolutionary neurobiologist Mark Changizi, “How to Nature-Harness an Ape Brain for the Arts”; and a presentation by RISD faculty and staff who attended the national conference New Paradigms in Teaching and Learning sponsored by the Association of Independent Colleges of Art and Design.

Spring 2014 events kick off on February 25 with RISD’s Global Classroom, a panel discussion on the multiple perspectives, opportunities and challenges involved in developing new global learning initiatives.
RISD’s missionis to educate its students and the public in the creation and appreciation of works of art and design, to discover and transmit knowledge and to make lasting contributions to a global society through critical thinking, scholarship and innovation. Located in Providence, Rhode Island, RISD enrolls approximately 2,400 undergraduate and graduate students from around the world who choose among 22 degree programs. RISD’s academic departments are organized in five divisions: Architecture + Design, Fine Arts, Foundation Studies, Graduate Studies and Liberal Arts.


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