Eddie Boucher teaches several sections of the required and large format ISS 210 general education course in Integrative Studies in Social Science. One of his concerns for effective student learning in his ISS courses is that many students feel that these required courses are simply busy-work courses that do not align with their intended majors or their interests. Of course, MSU’s Integrative Studies courses are integral in helping students develop the essential skills of integrative inquiry, critical thinking, perspective expansion around complex issues, as well as many other skills that will help them in their undergraduate careers.
His proposal for the 2020 Hub Faculty Fellowship Program is to design a semester-long course project where students actively engage in their learning process. By designing and conducting a visual storytelling project on topics of their choice that relate to their interests, but that also has a distinct and deliberate tie to his course themes of material culture and cultural flows. The project would allow students the agency to pursue topics that interest them, at the same time, they would actively engage in integrative inquiry around a complex topic and in a format (via visual/digital storytelling) that students are so familiar with in our age of YouTube, Instagram, and other such platforms. Over the semester, he would guide and facilitate the students in the requisite integrative inquiry and research design elements. Students would be assigned into peer discussion groups, and substantial course time will be dedicated to peer workshopping of the required project elements. And at the end of the course, he envisions holding a visual storytelling festival (similar to a film festival) where they collectively view and celebrate the research projects and stories told by students. This is an ambitious and exploratory project for an ISS class, and he feels the educational innovations and expertise of MSU’s Hub fellows will serve him well through curricular advisement, assessment ideas, and other forms of collaboration. He sincerely hopes the end product is a greater understanding and appreciation for integrative inquiry as well as a proactive and successful embodiment of engaged learning by students in individual projects that they find relevant to their education and their interests.