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Creating Free Minds

This was a website design + development + build project for a higher education course. The course was focussed on technology and it’s impact on humanity and business. But it leveraged the ideals of philosophy, creativity and individualism to make it’s point. I set the course to be high-end and challenging – in line with how higher education should be approached – but also fun, open and focussed on creating free minds.

This is the kind of introductory statement I usually make via email at the start of the semester. will give a glimpse into what it is like:

This course is focused on technology – and you. In a few different ways.

It is focused on the evolving relationship between technology, business, and most importantly us (humans). We discuss technologically driven shifts in industrial, cultural, and social paradigms, the subsequent impact, and the potential futures. Over the first five weeks this course will challenge you to take a stand on technology. Where you want to take that stand is entirely up to you. But to help I will nudge you in different directions – some extreme – some confronting – some left of centre – some very personal. Just as a brief example I may nudge you in a lecture with angles like, “technology is an inherent component of human evolution” (Kelly, 2005) or simply a slippery slope toward “ubiquitous subservience to giant computers” (Lanier, 2015). And get your opinion on it. I want you to think critically over this period. I want you to get your head around some key concepts and the opinions of some key individuals. I will use philosophy as a “circuit breaker” (Young, 2015) and to “jolt you out of preconceived notions” (Gallo, 2014). When I do this I am tinkering with your views by way of argument. I want you to take nothing for granted and nothing as fact. These are a series of propositions to be investigated. That is all. This course is a chance to free your mind guys.

Once you have developed and refined your own personal standpoint on technology, you will then get a chance to completely shift how you are thinking and working in this course. You will get a chance to plan and develop a live fully functional website for a business or any idea you may want to set up in the future. And I really do not care what the business or idea is – or even if it makes money – so long as it is yours – that it inspires you – that you have a passion for it – and in the words of Gallo (2014) that it, “makes your heart sing”. If you can find a way to give this website assignment personal meaning and purpose you have half the battle won – It will not feel like ‘work’ or ‘study’ anymore. And we can help you here. In fact in a large part my job here is to simply help you define what inspires and drives you and then simply show you how to turn that into something tangible. This course is also a chance to be creative.

At the end of it all – 12 weeks down the track – I want you to look back over everything you have done and tell me what you know now. What you have learned. Where you stand. What you built. Who you are. What you want. Why it is you think you are still breathing. And what you want to do with that breath. I will give you five minutes to do it. This is public speaking. And spoken word. One of the most important skills you can possess. This course is also a chance to discover and tell a powerful story.

Want to know more? This course is built upon the idea that truth is a paradox – that “the opposite of one great truth may be another great truth” (Palmer paraphrasing Niels Bohr, 2015), that “our thoughts and beliefs ‘pass’ so long as nothing challenges them” (James, 1907), and that you “do not walk into the lecture theatre as an empty vessel” (Palmer, 2015) – you walk in with a vast amount of knowledge and experience  – and as such are more than ready to enter into the eternal discussion on where the truth actually lies. Massive smile as I type that sentence. This entire course is a chance to show me – and more importantly you – us who you are and what you stand for.

There are no textbooks and no exams in this course. And whilst it may be focused on technology its real value lies in its focus on philosophy and the power of creativity and individualism. Its real value lies in its focus on you, and your story.

Have fun with this one guys.

Lectures start in about a week’s time. I will send you some stuff to get ready for that.

So I will be in touch again soon. jason.


My students



Image Size

420mm x 297mm (A3 Landscape)

Image Detail

Digital Collage. And what you are looking at is a crude fix job on an air conditioning unit. This image could easily be used as a discussion start point on technology. But it could also just as easily - and has - be a mandarin. I used this image here as technology often has a very clean crisp errorless precise vibe. Humans are not like that. We are raw and rough and flawed. Inefficient. Imprecise. Imperfect. And whoever fixed the hole in this air conditioning box is a living breathing example of all of that.

Your First Lecture

I don't give any long introductions in the first lecture. And I don't walk students through their assignments or how to access content. I say, "Hey my name is jason. Got a question for you. Is Google a part of your mind?". I break the silence by saying, "I will give you some time to think about it. Let me share something with you". And I deliver the spoken word piece titled, "Who Are These People?". And we go from there.

Who Are These People