I’m actually a lot sadder to be writing this post than I expected to be. This class is hands down the most memorable and stimulating class that I have ever taken. To be completely honest, I signed up to take CDT 450 for two reasons. One was because Cole’s description of the class had mentioned not spending all our time in the physical classroom. As a second semester senior and a person who prefers naps to actually being in class, I thought this would be a pretty easy and not very intellectually stimulating class ( I was wrong). I wasn’t at all disappointed that Cole never once cancelled class (he even held a Google Hangout class on a school snow day). The second reason I signed up for this class was because I started to google “Cole Camplese” and read more about him as a professor and person. His reviews on ratemyprofessor we’re pretty promising even though they were for Penn State and not SBU. When I walked into the class on the first day, I was a little overwhelmed to see that there were so few people in the class and that I was one of only two females. I quickly became aware of the fact that I wouldn’t be able to sit in the back of the classroom and blend in while staring down at my laptop or phone screen. I realized right away that Cole wasn’t a “normal” professor and that this definitely was not going to be a “normal” class. We were given iPads the very first day which at the time seemed like a lot to trust us with after only knowing us for a few hours.
Cole very rarely stood up in front of the classroom and lectured us with powerpoints. He engaged us in conversation and had us get into sometimes heated and tense discussions on everything from technology to “future people” to “master bakers.” I usually hate classes where there’s no notes on blackboard or study guides or lecture slides to learn off of. This class changed all of that. Cole didn’t want us to learn old, recycled information, but to come up with new ideas and reach new, exciting conclusions. I feel like all classes should be taught by professors like Cole. If Cole asked a question in class, and no one responded, he wouldn’t just give away the answer. He would stare around the room until someone became uncomfortable enough to actually try to answer the question and come up with new ideas.
On the topic of the iPads, I think it’s a commonly held believe that technology is tearing our generation apart and has no place in the classroom. Our experiences in CDT 450 could completely turn that belief on its head. We used our iPads to collaborate and make presentations, present them, and to have knowledge right at our fingertips. I think we made 2 presentations so far. My group, Too Disruptive, only met for about maybe a total of 30 minutes to work on one of the projects. Everything else was done through our iPads or laptops using Google Drive. I never thought it would be possible to be able to collaborate on a project without physically meeting with my group. Having the ability to work with others from the comfort of my own bed was a great feeling and that wouldn’t have been possible without our iPads. The iPads really took our class from a community to a community of practice. I remember when we first started discussing the topic of community and Cole asked us if we felt our class was a community. Everyone was a little hesitant to say yes but I strongly believe we would all identify the 9 of us as a very strong community after the past 14 weeks. We were able to create common goals and reach them, all using our iPads as a tool and resource. I loved that our class grades didn’t come from essays or quizzes or tests, but rather from class discussion and our synthesis presentations that gave us the opportunity to illustrate what we learned and give us the chance to teach it in new and cool ways.
Overall, Cole is probably the coolest professor I have ever had and CDT has been an incredibly exciting and rewarding experience. I genuinely believe that all professors and students could learn a lot from CDT 450 and Cole Camplese.