Saturday, April 27, 2013

The Common Book

Not sure if you have heard this or not, but there are several changes coming to the Kokomo region in the fall.  One is the move to twice a week daily classes; the other is the Common Book.

There will be Common Time built into the weekly schedule which can be used for a variety of activities or events.  Group meetings.  Special speakers.  Focused seminars.  Study groups.

During Common Time, the Common Book can be discussed by the students, either student-led or faculty driven. 

A committee was formed to select the Common Book and after much consideration This I Believe II was selected..  The subtitle is "The Personal Philosopies of Remarkable Men and Women," and it is edited by Jay Allison and Dan Gediman.

It has been suggested that ALL instructors use parts or all of the Common Book in their courses in some way, as a reading to relate to content, as an outside assignment, as a springboard for discussion of a topic related to their coursework, or any other way deemed appropriate by the instructors.

I see the book as a way to integrate new discussion into my classes.  Summarizing techniques can also be used after reading selected chapters.  My students can practice note-taking, paraphrasing, and selecting quote-worthy passages from what they have read.  Hopefully their research skills and transferring what they read into what they write will improve.

If you get a chance, take a look at the book. Tell me what you think, either of the Common Book, Common Time, or this year's selection.  Comments are welcome!


  1. I think the Common Book is a very good idea along with Common Time. I looked the book up on Amazon and looks like something I would for sure read. It also had decent ratings. Do you know if the Common Book and Common Time are going to be implemented for online classes next year, and will the book be available at our bookstore? I am very interested in this concept! Thank you for sharing, I had not heard about it before.

  2. I think this is a Kokomo region activity now for on campus classes. I am not sure how it would work for online courses since students from all over the state can enroll in those. For instance Seth lives near Madison and is taking our course, so he would have to buy our Common Book and maybe another for his region, and maybe another for a class he might take from the Terre Haute region. The way I understand the process, the book will be a required purchase by students in our region so it will be available in our bookstores.

    Full time faculty just received our books yesterday at a meeting, and I don't think there has been a major announcement about the Common Book and Common Time yet. I can keep you posted though.

  3. I'm a little confused as to how this works, to be honest. I hadn't heard about this (then again, I'm in the Lafayette region, not Kokomo, and as I'm graduating a week from today it wouldn't affect me anyway.) Would this be for ALL classes, or just English? I can't see how this would work for, say, a statistics course or an auto mechanic course. I've heard lots of stuff on K-12 teachers and the Common Core; is this in any way related to that?

    I guess what I'm ultimately saying here is that I don't know enough about this to form an opinion. ;)

  4. Krystie had the same question that I did. How would you intregrate reading material into, say a math class or science class? There is sometimes difficulty getting students to attend regular classes, what would the incentive be for attendance to a common time? Don't get me wrong, I think it is a good idea..just not sure how it would work.