For Educators: How to Implement an Interview Assignment

Today I presented my pedagogical insights on the Artist Interview Project assignment for my Philosophy of Phish class at the OSU Center for Teaching and Learning‘s Teaching Showcase event. As part of my presentation about how to implement an interview assignment in the classroom, I created a number of handouts for the participants. While this assignment was developed within and for the students in a special section of PHL 360 (Philosophy & the Arts) that uses the rock band Phish as a case study, I have found the evolution of the project generative for both my teaching and research. I now use versions of this assignment in my other courses, including PHL 205 (Introduction to Ethics) and PHL 275 (Introduction to Disability Studies). I am also researching the assignment as part of a fellowship awarded through OSU’s Ecampus Research Unit.

Philosophy is often defined (at least in part) as the art of asking questions. However, it is rare for philosophy students to receive instruction directed at cultivating the necessary skills for asking good, informed, philosophical questions. As a philosophy professor, I take seriously my responsibility for modeling these skills in the classroom and developing assignments that encourage students to practice them. With the Artist Interview Project, students practice doing philosophy through collaborative dialogue. In doing so, they are helping to create a community resource, rather than functioning as irritating gadflies.

I’m posting the handouts (via Google Drive) from my presentation, in case other educators find these materials helpful:

  1. Interview Assignment Components
  2. Measurable Learning Outcomes
  3. Final Blog Post Assignment Instructions (with rubric)
  4. Tips for Implementing Interview Assignments
  5. Course syllabus (2016 version)

Thank you to the Phish community for inspiring innovation in my teaching and research!

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