Creating Wicked Students
Designing Courses for a Complex World

Paper: 978 1 62036 697 4 / $24.95
Published: May 2018  

Cloth: 978 1 62036 696 7 / $95.00
Published: May 2018  

Lib E-Book: 978 1 62036 698 1 / $95.00  
About Library E-Book

Published: May 2018  

E-Book: 978 1 62036 699 8 / $19.99
Published: May 2018  

Publisher: Stylus Publishing
200 pp., 5 5/6" x 9"
15 figures, 1 table
In Creating Wicked Students, Paul Hanstedt argues that courses can and should be designed to present students with what are known as “wicked problems” because the skills of dealing with such knotty problems are what will best prepare them for life after college. As the author puts it, “this book begins with the assumption that what we all want for our students is that they be capable of changing the world….When a student leaves college, we want them to enter the world not as drones participating mindlessly in activities to which they’ve been appointed, but as thinking, deliberative beings who add something to society.”

There’s a lot of talk in education these days about “wicked problems”—problems that defy traditional expectations or knowledge, problems that evolve over time: Zika, ISIS, political discourse in the era of social media. To prepare students for such wicked problems, they need to have wicked competencies, the ability to respond easily and on the fly to complex challenges. Unfortunately, a traditional education that focuses on content and skills often fails to achieve this sense of wickedness. Students memorize for the test, prepare for the paper, practice the various algorithms over and over again—but when the parameters or dynamics of the test or the paper or the equation change, students are often at a loss for how to adjust.

This is a course design book centered on the idea that the goal in the college classroom—in all classrooms, all the time—is to develop students who are not just loaded with content, but capable of using that content in thoughtful, deliberate ways to make the world a better place. Achieving this goal requires a top-to-bottom reconsideration of courses, including student learning goals, text selection and course structure, day-to-day pedagogies, and assignment and project design. Creating Wicked Students takes readers through each step of the process, providing multiple examples at each stage, while always encouraging instructors to consider concepts and exercises in light of their own courses and students.

Table of Contents:

1) Rethinking the Whole Student in Wicked Ways
2) Setting Goals for Our Courses
3) Structuring Wicked Courses
4) Creating Wicked Assignments
5) Creating Authoritative Exams
6) Day-to-Day Teaching Methods
7) Assessing Wickedness

Appendix A: Poster Project for English 322: Composition Theory and Practice
Appendix B: Travel Film Assignment for First-year Seminar on Travel Literature
Appendix C: Research Poster Assignment for Occupational Therapy
Appendix D: Final Exam Take-Home Question on What Matters
Appendix E: Mini-Group Essay Assignment for English 338: Victorian Literature
Appendix F: Group Log for Mini-Group Essays
About the Author

Chapter 1

Reviews & Endorsements:
"Paul Hanstedt is a teacher’s teacher. He approaches the college classroom with a combination of excitement, experience, skill, and humor. His goal – to create 'wicked' students, ready to face the daunting challenges of the twenty-first century – is right on point. And his strategies and recommendations are clear, practical and instructive. I can’t wait to share this highly readable and valuable book with my colleagues."
- Bret Eynon, Associate Provost, LaGuardia Community College (CUNY), Co-Author, High Impact ePortfolio Practice: Catalyst for Student, Faculty and Institutional Learning
"From its playful title to its final chapter, Creating Wicked Students offers a thought-provoking new approach to course design focused on helping college students develop the abilities and self-authorship needed to work –and live—meaningfully. Hanstedt guides the reader through a design process for courses where students learn skills and content, but more significantly, develop 'the ability to step into a complex, messy world and interact with that world in thoughtful and productive ways."
- Deandra Little, Director, Center for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning and Associate Professor of English , Elon University