The Otis College North Building/ Product Design “Faculty Room” is a tiny space which includes a bank vault from the building’s previous incarnation as Bank of America. This “Faculty Room” seems to be organically shape shifting into a Learning Commons — with no syllabus, signature project or course number. It’s a non-classroom where not knowing, feeling doubtful, lost, being stuck and other “Paint Points” are seen as assets and opportunities.
Students literally wander into the Otis College “Learning Commons” with no scheduled appointment and often no specific agenda. Conversations begin spontaneously. Faculty who happen to be there seem to welcome the interruption. They listen and take notes on the large white board, diagramming possible solutions or strategies that student and the faculty team have come up with. These “Meet ups” are surprisingly brief and students report that this “one on one” connection is something they need and value.
Success Coaching is not feedback, nor critique. It's more of an ongoing relationship and conversation between coach and design student, driven by a student's unique affinities, roadblocks, interests and goals. It doesn’t happen in a classroom during a specific class time. It happens when a student needs or wants it to happen. It’s voluntary. On a wall in the “Learning Commons”are three questions:
Who am I?
Where am I going?
How do I get there?
Students are deeply involved in mapping "Success Pathways" that are sustainable, actionable, customizable and subject to change, in this "Centralized Competency Based" place.
In 2016 Christine Ortiz took a leave from her prestigious post as a professor and dean at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to start a radical, new nonprofit university that she says will have no majors, no lectures, and no classrooms. This proposal is inspired by her courage and vision.