Example: Annotation of “The Innovation Campus” by Alexandra Lange

First, something must be said for the title, I think. It doesn’t suggest objectivity, that’s for sure. 

NYT article by Alexandra Lange (Aug 2016)

NYT article by Alexandra Lange (Aug 2016)

“Building Better Ideas”? This article reads more like propaganda than journalism. It’s easy to get caught up in the “sexiness” of new technologies and the youthful cultures that tend to accompany them, and this author seems to indulge. There’s so much missing in this article. A bias towards celebrating tech corporate cultures (under the assumption that the design cultures they promote are foundational to their successes) does nothing to help inform the public as to whether or not such cultures are good for us, are good for learning, are good for colleges (particularly liberal arts colleges).

“Where once the campus amenities arms race was waged over luxury dorms and recreation facilities, now colleges and universities are building deluxe structures for the generation of wonderful ideas” (par. 1). Notice the war metaphor. Particularly masculine, capitalistic. Sets the tone for the rest of the article; there’s no intention by the author to question the values system promoted by the corporate/tech design aesthetic. An aesthetic created by and promoted by a famously misogynistic and racist network. (See popular and scholarly discussions.)

In conversation with Mohammed and Charlie yesterday in class, I get the impression that there is a clear divide between those who kind of automatically feel excited by the design style of STEM and technology job-like atmospheres and those who feel skeptical, always. Do we associate success with a particular design style (Google-style, tech-start-up-style)? And if you’re a woman, are you a lot less likely to feel an automatic appreciate for that style of design? 

15 thoughts on “Example: Annotation of “The Innovation Campus” by Alexandra Lange

  1. I feel like a design style like google would be an interesting work space, but I could not imagine attempting to learn in an environment like that. I can imagine it would be easy to get distracted and make it harder to focus on specific tasks.

  2. I’ve noticed when observing many different infrastructures; you never really will understand it’s pro’s/cons. I say this because some people may like the design or use the design space for different reasons than others which makes it pretty hard to judge.

  3. I agree that this article only conveys merely half, if not less, of the truth. Who knows? Many students might benefit from traditional technological and educational design, while others might benefit from a combination of both on campus. The article is almost frustrating to read because it is so pushy towards its argument that students learn better in innovative environments without revealing what they truly benefit from.

  4. I like how this annotation is written first just explaining how you felt the article came off as technological “sexiness” and then how it came off as propaganda and then how we talked about it in class and how some would feel excited about this and others overwhelmed.

  5. There is this sense of a dream like state associated with the article. It tends to focus more on the flashy new buildings, HD photography, and “close” learning, but fails to include evidence that supports that this type of working actually… works. There is a lot missing! I think they need to get the other point of view in order to incorporate all sides of the argument, even if it doesn’t support the argument.

  6. The bias is especially clear to us GSU students in that inhabiting our own campus and coming from our own diverse backgrounds, the points you put forth feels alienating, foreign, as if from a different social echelon.

  7. I agree with your statement “the article isn’t bias.” It states ideas, but doesn’t inform the public whether it’s beneficial or not.

    • Actually I do think the article is biased heavily on the side of promoting the “tech-corporate” design culture. Read again…

  8. Implementing more technology in the design of the environment of STEM colleges makes sense because being able to constantly use certain tools the design provides helps students understand and get more familiar with what they will probably use in their careers.

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