Academic Access and New Learning
Mandell, Alan, Herman, Lee, Adult Learning
Over the past 30+ years, many colleges have made themselves more accessible for adult students. These innovations include flexible scheduling, online learning, professionally-oriented degrees, and credit for what students already know (Michelson & Mandell, 2004). Of course there is more work to be done, particularly in the areas of financial aid for the very large number of adult part-time college students (Moore, 2006; Chronicle of Higher Education, 2008), as well as in the areas of academic support and advising (Tait & Mills, 2003). But undoubtedly, these progressive changes have made it possible for many adults to get into school, stay there, and finish their degrees.
Once we begin to question and alter traditional academic learning in these very pragmatic ways, other possibilities for innovation appear (Hall, 1991). Indeed, sometimes we are happily surprised at how much and how well we can alter our standards of what students should and do know, as well as how we can effectively work with them (Herman & Mandell, 2004). Our goal in this paper is to present two cases that exemplify these practical and academic innovations. In one example, a faculty mentor and student collaboratively improvise new learning within an individualized learning contract. The other example is about a mentor-evaluator and student discovering a new way to construe prior experiential learning neither had anticipated.
Harry had already written one novel, continued to experiment with poetry and memoir, and had a plan for a second piece of fiction. The four main characters whose lives he had already sketched out had come to the city and taken up different jobs: a fire fighter, a bicycle mechanic, a cook, and a part-time actor. Harry wanted to learn more about their work lives; he wanted to gain insight into their daily routines and their feelings about their jobs. He wanted to use this guided independent study to talk with people at work in hopes of giving his fiction more depth and insight. He wanted to get it right.
In many ways, I thought, …
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Publication information: Article title: Academic Access and New Learning. Contributors: Mandell, Alan - Author, Herman, Lee - Author. Journal title: Adult Learning. Volume: 19. Issue: 1-2 Publication date: Spring 2008. Page number: 17+. © 1999 American Association for Adult and Continuing Education. COPYRIGHT 2008 Gale Group.
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