Everyone knows that Imperial is (mainly) a STEM university. Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics (and a bit of Medicine and Business): all the good stuff. The average Imperial student knows pi to the 40th decimal places by heart but probably couldn’t name 3 Shakespeare plays… That’s why the Horizons program is such a good idea: it brings a little bit of humanities into our STEMy world. How little? Well, exactly 2 hours a week 🙂
Amanda has written about the topic in detail, so I won’t repeat the dropout rate or the advantages and disadvantages. I would like to write about my experiences instead…
In the first term I signed up for The World Today (I chose this over Spanish because I realised Spanish can be learnt anywhere, but this course is quite a unique thing…). We were divided into small groups and each group had a different global problem to focus on. Our group got “Religious Extremism”. I wouldn’t say it was bad… it’s just not my type of interest. Of course, religious extremism is a serious issue with all those wars and terrorist attacks, but… I just wasn’t so keen on the topic. Our task was to collect data and information from the internet, and produce a so-called “Wiki” on Blackboard which contained all our research. We got to learn how to properly reference things, how to structure an article, how to use graphs and pictures. It was quite useful, and at the end I was very glad I didn’t drop it, because it was an excellent opportunity to get to know people from other courses. (Seriously, I practically commute between C12 and ACEX, my only contact with the “outside world” is this Horizons course…)
The World Today course is part of the Global Challenges topic, and it has a straight sequel in the spring term called “Sustaining our Future”. I signed up for this one because I hoped I could get a better research area this time. I missed the first session because I had flu, but I wrote an email to the course leader asking her to put me in any group which deals with either Education or Renewable Energy. Yeah, very stereotypical “save the world” type of problems, but after all this is what this course is about… 🙂 And I got an answer that I was put into Education… YESSSS!
Education and improving the quality of education is one of my favourite topics. I could talk about it for hours, I have numerous ideas about the solutions and I would love to act immediately and help everyone and solve everything and… You get the idea, I’m over keen on this one… 🙂
We subdivided the tasks among ourselves in the group, so my focus are become the “social factor”. I put two questions in front of me:
– Why teachers lose motivation?
– Why are students not motivated to become teachers?
And I tried to answer them…
In the next few weeks my task is to come up with several distinct solutions with detailed analysis (cost, benefit, involvement, etc) and choose the best one. The truth is, in the past few days I spent more time working on my Horizons course than on my main course… But who cares? It’s about EDUCATION!!!
A few screenshots about my work: