The Institute for Educational Studies (TIES) at Endicott College, Beverly, MA, is offering a collaborative distance learning M.Ed. in Integrative Learning that begins in March 2016.
Questions that contextualize the course of study include:
- How does integrative learning create a context for exploring one’s Great Work?
- What is a learning community and what capacities are evoked through participation?
- In what ways can we bring a sense of community—local, regional and global—to the learning process?
- How does systems-thinking lead to eco-learning and the creation of integrative approaches?
- How can transformative education establish a foundation for students to develop their personal contributions to a healthier and more sustainable Earth community?
Area of Emphasis
Each student chooses an area of emphasis—a passionate interest—within the concentration of Integrative Learning. This “independent” portion of the work accounts for one third of the degree requirements. The integrative seminars provide a “lens” for the exploration of this emphasis area.
Examples include environmental awareness, media literacy, art education, sense of place, leadership, learning communities, transformative education, holistic leadership, cosmology, art and community, experiential education, caring in the culinary arts, ecoliteracy, experiential learning, Earth education, administration, elementary music programs, and spiritual ecology.
All of this work is encountered with the implicit goal of developing students’ content and process-based knowledge for contribution to the Earth Community.
Our premise is that humanity has the possibility of reclaiming a sustainable relationship with the Earth. One of the processes of communication that makes this possible is dialogue. In this case we refer to a variation on a particular form of dialogue described by physicist David Bohm. Bohm’s constant thread that particularly relates to our dialogue is that we are investigating the possibilities for:
- The emergence of shared meaning
- Increasing awareness of our own and others assumptions
- Increasing sensitivity and willingness to “listen”
- The creation of space between our reaction and our response
- A willingness to experiment with the principles described
Collaborative Learning Communities
During recent years there has been a proliferation of courses and degrees offered under the umbrella of distance learning. In general these academic pursuits are similar to attending a conventional university. The professor posts lectures and gives out assignments, students submit papers, there are tests and there are grades.
In contrast we promote an integrative view hosted by a uniquely designed online education eCampus where students work in collaborative learning communities; where faculty are mentors and co-learners; where creativity and self-direction are valued; and where there is a an understanding of dialogue as process. Right communication embraces an appreciation for each person’s contribution.
About the eCampus
The heart of the teaching and learning process relies on interactive dialogues accessible through state of the art conferencing software. Faculty and students meet in asynchronous classroom conferences, building upon one another’s insights and understanding.
Once signed-on to the eCampus, students have an opportunity to become an active member of a reflective learning community—exchanging ideas, exploring essential questions and responding to dialogue with students and faculty from diverse cultures and countries. There are formal and informal meetings in community journals that are relevant to current life experience.
Faculty-practitioners advise and mentor students throughout the program. Most graduates and students will tell you that the on-line community becomes a second “home” for gathering with people who share a common vision. TIES offers adults a prepared environment where content and process are integrated.
Program activities include: reflective interaction through directed readings; pondering “questions worth thinking about” posed by faculty and students; replying to postings of other students; and sharing ideas spontaneously as they arise.
Integrative Learning Seminars
The core material and course work is presented through a series of on-line seminars where students and faculty post responses to an assigned reading (or viewing).
Subsequent to the initial posting, participants comment and weave responses, searching for new insights. Quite often the authors of the books and/or experienced scholars are available during the on-line dialogue.
A sample of an integrative seminar dialogue can be accessed from the download section at the bottom of this page.