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I figured we might want to use this space for brainstorming and discussing the structure of the argument.
- 3 Reasons mandatory curved grading is inconsistent with the aims and pedagogy of the course:
- Students' anxiety over their grades can stifle the creative, risky, personal work which this course seeks to encourage while undercutting the class' goal of creating an open, collaborative learning environment. Students may feel that the course puts them in a vulnerable and unpredictable position. The coursework upon which they will be graded is highly creative and personal, and the process of assigning a grade to it may appear to students to be subjective and arbitrary. The prospect of being graded on creative work may create enormous anxiety among some students, which will stifle the creativity which the class needs in order to thrive. Furthermore, as Professor Nesson's 2006 Evidence class demonstrates, grade anxiety can create an atmosphere of fear, hostility, suspicion, and bitterness among students. Such an atmosphere would be toxic to the community-oriented, collaborative pedagogy of CyberOne.
- Group projects will constitute a major portion of each student's grade. Students may fear that group work will not reflect their individual contributions, or that they will be graded on work over which they cannot exert much control.
- This course requires that students undertake projects that are highly technical in nature. Students without a background in technology may feel that they are at an unfair competitive disadvantage as against students with extensive technical backgrounds.
- While grades may have a place in a traditional law school class environment where a student's grasp of the subject matter is tested by her ability to provide the "right" answer, they are not a natural fit with CyberOne. This class is not about reaching any particular ends or conclusion. Rather, it is about process -- the process we use to order ourselves, develop ideas, share knowledge, and unlock the potential of our cyberenvironment. This creative, collaborative process should not be fettered by anxieties about whether or not we are doing it the "right" way.