Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Lego® Community College (reifying our Romper Roomian reputation?)

Solving "real-world problems" with Legos® 
Believe it or not, Irvine Valley College® is an actual college. It has always struck me as odd that IVC is best known for hosting such decidedly non-collegiate (i.e., adolescent or prepubescent) and noisy events as the "Astounding Inventions" thing. The latter entails a yearly invasion of wise-crackular, gizmo-clutching urchins, some of whom end up on the Tonight Show, bein' cute and funny, thereby promulgating the notion that IVC is seriously kid friendly, like a kind of Irvinian Disneyland, but without Mickey or Goofy or Clock Towers.
So the IVC "brand" already tends towards a kind of "It's a Small World" vibe. But now we learn (at the IVC website) that IVC leadership have decided to cement the college's Romper Roomian reputation in Super Glue, cuz, through their efforts, the "First® Lego® League Qualifying Tournament" will be held at the campus on Sunday, the 13th!
No doubt we'll get lots of press.
According to a flier available at the college website, “each year, FLL identifies a real world problem that today’s scientists and engineers are trying to solve” (see flier).
I'm not sure what this year's "problem" is. I provide a suggestion above.


At one recent "Astounding Inventions" event, an IVC Chem instructor taught the children how to whip up C4 in their bathtubs. ("Listen, we all know they're gonna try an' make the stuff. They may as well do it right.")*
Irvine Valley College's coveted "Do-Bee" Scholarship Button  (Winners also get 250 bucks plus a jumbo jar of Cosgrove Honey) *
Typical "astounding" inventor : "My helmet--plus ducking and covering--will save you from the atomic bomb."*†
At IVC, delightful and infantile blue and white balloons are flown at the drop of a hat. Sometimes, "bouncy houses" can be found in the playground in front of the Student Services Bldg. I enjoy watching the students bounce idiotically.
At IVC, it is not unheard of for an instructor to send a student to a corner for a "time-out."*
One time, for some kind of "multicultural" event, officials provided a showing of "The King and I." (Oh, that's a different issue. Sorry.)

*Tea Partiers: here, I'm just kidding, OK? Send all complaints to IVC administration. All non-asterisked examples are quite real, however.
Actually, this urchin's invention is "The Human Lightning Catcher" 
It's IVC after all

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

Have you ever participated in any of these events ? We are a Community College and these kids are part of the community.

B. von Traven said...

I have indeed witnessed these events, but that's not the issue. You'll note that my complaint is consistent with tolerating and even approving of these events. The problem I have is a matter of proportion. We should be known for academic achievement (among other achievements) more than for goofy kids events, wholesome and communitarian thought they might be. Routinely, the leadership of our college highlights non-academic and marginally academic activities (sports, speech) while ignoring serious scholarship and academic/intellectual achievement right under their noses. It's as though we were a high school, not a college.
P.S., hope to see you at "homecoming"! (Good Effing Grief.)

Anonymous said...

I understand your point. Some of these events showcase CTE and Academics and I feel that that is important. Usually these events are done in partnership with other outreach organizations so the college does not set the entire agenda. It is very difficult to attract HS & MS students to events that are purely academic.

Anonymous said...

There's a "homecoming" event? What the fuck's up with that?

Anonymous said...

Yeah bvt, these kid's conservative parents and their parents have been paying your salary all these years!

The sciences are as academic as the arts, bvt.

According to your logic, why not just do away with some of the useless nonacademic programs like theater and music? Do those "vocations" ever produce any tangeable career jobs? Probably nothing you could ever shake a stick at...

Unless in such a rare event one of those former IVC students happens to get a break in hollyweird, of course only after a romp on the producer's coutch, if they could only be so lucky... Better break out them kneepads!

B. von Traven said...

1:43, for years now, IVC has had "homecoming" events. I kid you not. See here.

B. von Traven said...

2:01, you wrote: "The sciences are as academic as the arts, bvt."
There is nothing that I believe nor anything that I wrote that implies the contrary. You don't read very carefully, do you? We've got classes for your particular inability.
If you could read, 2:01, you'd know that I wrote: "We should be known for academic achievement (among other achievements) more than for goofy kid events...." The other achievements I had in mind are non-academic yet other than kid events--such as, say, some attainment in nursing training or, say, computer program instruction. I am well aware, of course, that the "mission" of the CA community colleges is broader than the spectrum of traditional college areas found at, say, UCI or Chapman.
And do learn to spell, 2:01. "producer's coutch"? Really?

Anonymous said...

I know what you're saying, bvt, but the sad truth is that computer programming is a tad difficult to promote unless there is something noteworthy that happens in it...did a student win an award? Is there faculty research to highlight that is new and noteworthy? If not, then what is there to say, exactly?

This is not to imply that ONLY homecoming (or similarly ridiculous events) should be highlighted, but we don't exactly have Nobel laureates to regale...or interesting guest speakers...or...

Anonymous said...

Well, 2:01, does an MBA program produce tangible jobs? Such skills as manipulating a money market don't really do anything worthwile, do they? Come on, admit it.

Anonymous said...

Oh sure, our college could do nothing as far as events go, but then that wouldn't be giving anything back to the community, now would it?

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