With school starting up soon and professors and teachers lookin for new ways to present material, Time suggests modeling class after Project Runway.
In the spring issue of Journal on Excellence in College Teaching, Brad van Eeden-Moorefield, an associate professor of human development and family studies at Central Michigan University, presents the results of his 2006 study on the effects of modeling a research-methods class after Project Runway. The show that just began its eighth season makes budding fashion designers vie for a grand prize by competing in weekly challenges. And though it’s hard to imagine a realm farther removed from the sexy world of fashion than a small-town campus in sleepy Mount Pleasant, Mich., van Eeden-Moorefield’s Project M (the M is for Methodology) proved successful. By the end of the semester, 100% of the students said they thought the curriculum should be used in future classes. They reported being more invested and also retaining more material. And perhaps most important, they said they actually had fun in a class in which students are trained to write theses, academic papers and similarly mind-numbing (but necessary) stuff.
According to the article, a few reasons this works in the classroom: competition, making material more relatable by using popular culture, and interactive criticism.