Educational systems nowadays are putting so much emphasis on our exam performance to tell us how “smart” or “successful” we are. Exams are conducted to see if we learned content in class, right? But here is the ironic part: Do you read to understand the material or simply to memorize the material, in order to pass an exam to receive a high GPA? The content we learn is important , but it’s the WAY we learn the content that is starting to change.
Many students read chapters from the textbook, think of creative acronyms to memorize the content, drink coffee until 2 am, and color code notes in order to engrave information into our minds. But here’s the thing: this information only stays in our minds for only for a short period. More specifically, just enough time to pass the test. I know that we are suppose to know the information to help us in the real world, but let’s be honest: where does that information go after two weeks?
Many people, including myself, believe exams are testing those who have the best short-term memory. In other words, secondary educational institutions should focus more on hands-on experience rather than test-taking to educate their students – and that is exactly what Bryant University is doing.
Bryant understands this new trend and is incorporating more group projects and real-life experiences in the classroom. This burden to “know” the material in order to pass an exam is only causing more stress for us. Programs should be based off projects and case studies that have to do with companies and businesses.
At Bryant, I have been taking courses that have been moving away from written exams and have been focusing more on team projects, case studies and real-life experiences. For instance, I took public speaking last semester. In this course, we are critiqued each week by presenting a speech. We are actually doing what we would be doing in the “real world”. Another class is Management. We have to communicate on a professional level with a non-profit organization and create a practical way to design specific programs they could actually implement. Additionally, one of my classes this year is in a room that is surrounded by white boards. What does that mean exactly? You can write on the walls! We read case studies, apply concepts we learned in class, and write on the walls to express our opinions!
Bryant building the new Academic Innovation Center is a fantastic idea. We need more rooms that bring out the creative side for students. This proves that Bryant takes into consideration the Generation Y learning style. For those who don’t know what I’m talking about, the Florida Institute of Technology lists the GenY traits as having a short attention span, being team oriented, and learning visually. In addition, Everest College also states that hands-on experiences can enhance greater retention, critical thinking skills, and helps us learn how to gain access to materials and programs used on a job in real-time.
The IDEA Program is another perfect example of how Bryant is adapting. This is a three-day program that allows first-year students to come back to campus before the rest of the student body after Winter Break. Each team is provided a real-life problem and has to think of a solution. For instance, my challenge was to design programs that could help movie theatres gain revenue again since Netflix and OnDemand have been popular.
Through the IDEA program, students are dealing with real-world problems and thinking of practical and creative ways to fix these problems rather than sitting down and taking an exam. If you attend Bryant, that is exactly how you will learn.
No matter who you are, where you are from, or why you are reading this:
Class of 2016