Thursday, September 12, 2013

Korpi’s Rules

Today, in a discussion about engaging learning activities in the university classroom, an academic colleague introduced me to Korpi’s Rules. Walter Korpi is a Norwegian academic and past president of the Research Committee for the International Sociological Association. He developed a workshop-style meeting format for his peers which forces the presenter of new research to be very clear about the work.

It works like this:
  1. A paper for discussion at the conference is selected and circulated.
  2. A member of the group other than the author of paper (the discussant) presents the paper, based only on written material supplied by the author. No oral briefing or interaction between presenter/discussant and author precedes the presentation to the group.
  3. Following the presentation, the author takes questions about the paper.
  4. Finally, the group engages in a general discussion about the paper.
“… accepting a place on the [conference] program entails a commitment to complete the paper in time for others to read it and to come prepared to discuss papers. Equally, participants may expect to serve as discussant for another paper, and to open the floor with an incisive and fair assessment of its strengths and weaknesses.”
I can see this technique working as a classroom learning event. Not only does it force good, clear writing, it introduces social science students to a practice used by their more senior discipline-based colleagues.

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