Temporal space

Because the kinds of meetings needed, and their scheduling, configuration, and central tasks varied so much from day to day and from one part of the process to another, we needed as much flexibility as possible in our ability to schedule meetings. We achieved a workable level of flexibility by assuring that EC 120 would be ours for the whole day on Tuesday and Thursday. Similarly, we asked students to reserve their entire Tuesdays and Thursdays for Truth in Society. All their other classes or regular obligations were to be scheduled for MWF.

The usual pattern of meetings, particularly at the beginning of the course, was to have a full- class meeting beginning at 8:30, to make and discuss assignments, plan the rest of the day, attend to organizational matters, introduce ideas, etc. Normally, as well, there would be a full- class meeting at 4:30 or 4:00 (depending on how much time we thought would be needed for whatever activity was scheduled). These "bookend" meetings framed the day, particularly through the first months, and helped students find ways to manage their time, particularly since normally there would be specific tasks and goals to be accomplished between the two meetings. We made it clear that we expected a commitment to the course of 20-25 hours a week (3/5 of a full-time job), so that beyond the 8:30 - 5:00 TTh commitment they should budget 5-10 hours a week for work on Truth in Society.

An important aspect of the temporal structure of the course was that it comprised two complete cycles of exploration, investigation, reflection, reporting and publication. It is -- we believed at the outset and are more convinced now -- crucially important that the students live through this cycle twice. It is on the second round that real learning occurs, as students (and teachers) have an opportunity to generalize the patterns and reflect on them -- to achieve some binocular distance and focusing.

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