The graduate experience isn’t just about immersion within a topic. We want our students to have time outside the classroom to think about their work, talk with each other, and form the mini-collectives that follow them throughout their lives. One of the ways we’ve done that: The EMDD Writing Retreat.
Our first retreat took place at the Agape Lodge in Bradford Woods just outside of Martinsville, Indiana on December 11 – 13, just before exam week. (We don’t give exams so the students had the chance to work on their writing projects.)
We’ve tried to impress upon Cohort One the idea that knowledge doesn’t simply come from the professors, the books, and the lectures. Instead, they need to see themselves as people who understand how concepts and ideas come together, and experts who can begin to comment upon and manipulate data.
Part of that comes from getting them together in intimate spaces where they can begin to share experiences and gain trust.
Their Own Informal Learning Night: Making Chapstick
One hallmark of our program is the Informal Learning Night mechanism. The professors have designed a series of ungraded, unstructured learning experiences. This includes dinners, conversations with experts, and student-led learning modules. At the Agape Lodge, Emily Cornetet led an informal learning experience around making chapstick.
It’s easy to argue that this has nothing to do with emerging media design & development. However, we tend to believe that learning how to take ownership of information, working in small groups, and building teams is directly tied to what we do in EMDD.