How We’re Bridging Online/Offline Authentic Learning: Adam Bush of College Unbound

Adam BushThis blog post comes to you from Adam Bush, the freshest addition to the P2PU Crew. He’s the founding Director of Curriculum of College Unbound: a college degree program in Providence, RI working to contend with retention rates for first generation college students by equally incorporating voices outside of the academy in the teaching and evaluation of its student body in an outcomes-based program. He is a Doctoral Candidate in the American Studies and Ethnicity department at USC working on his dissertation “Passing Notes in Class; Listening to Pedagogy and Improvisations in Jazz History.” 

For many years P2PU and College Unbound had admired one another from a distance.  We’ve had similar goals in transforming how and with whom people learn and while many of these ideas have taken hold of the larger landscape of learning in interesting ways in both higher education and online learning spaces—the opportunity to work together on making something new has alluded us.

But here it is—and man is it cool.   

From my side of things at College Unbound, Writing 4 Change is what we’ve been looking to do for so long but haven’t had the colleagues, environment, or urgency to tackle.  It is as close to an authentic online CU experience as I’ve yet seen—and that’s because the online spaces Peer 2 Peer creates are ones that prioritize collaboration and open learning.  When I say “authentic College Unbound”—I guess what I’m speaking to (and in some ways lamenting) is the deep personalization and messiness of learning that CU has curated since day 1 (when we opened our doors in 2009 originally for traditional college aged students).  We surround our students, (who are now full-time working adults who enroll at CU-partner accredited institutions of higher ed) with mentors, we help them develop learning teams in their spaces of work, and we challenge them to co-create projects that stand at the center of each step towards a bachelors degree. It’s a messiness of learning that we haven’t been able to replicate well enough when we try to use online learning management systems.  So, what ends up happening is that “online” becomes a chore instead of a tool for opening up new possibilities.  That’s what this course attempts to help us solve.

We’re so excited to invite College Unbound students and others to join in on this course!  Here we go!

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