Recently, an ODU student inquired, “Why is this event so important to ODU?” Dr. Dylan Wittkower, one of the project coordinators and participants responded:
Our educational environment today is excessively assessment-driven—most notably, in the testing culture exemplified by No Child Left Behind. We have reduced the scope of what counts as “learning” to what is empirically verifiable through standardized assessment, and the meaning and value of education has been greatly impoverished thereby. This is an important project for our University, and for our educational culture as a nation, because it represents a conscious and conscientious break with this pattern and the version of “learning” that it implies. We intend to come together as a community and write and edit as a community, and, in so doing, to recapture the idea that writing and scholarship are about an interchange of ideas and a concretization of experience into knowledge—not about memorization, hierarchical authority, cramming and recall, or performing rigid tasks to pre-set standards. This is an important project because it aims to create a pop-up community of knowledge creators that keeps faith with the fundamental goals of education as discovery–discovery of ourselves, of each other, and of the world–conducted among parters in knowing.