This course will focus on studying examples of “failures,” compelling students to ask practitioners about past failures in their field, taking a personal inventory, and thinking critically about theories of mindset, “being wrong,” and the successes that emerge out of those mistakes. The course is inspired by this quote by Brené Brown: "When we start losing our tolerance for vulnerability, uncertainty, for risk — we move away from the things we need and crave the most like joy and love and belonging, trust, empathy, creativity." The course also examines theories of learning failures by Warren Bennis and artistic and cultural failures examined by Jesper Juul and Judith Halberstam. This course can only be taken by students in the College Unbound Program. (3 credits)
- ENG 101: English Composition 1
- ENG 102: English Composition 2
Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs)
Students who successfully complete this course will be able to:
- Develop the skills necessary to identify, analyze, and optimize the learning experiences from failure.
- Identify potential and actual failures in their early stages.
- Use shared experiences to analyze potential paths to mitigate emotional and financial losses.
- Develop, evaluate, and implement recommended options for preventing, reducing, and responding to failure.
- Evaluate and apply the five benefits of failure (clarity, champions, creativity, grit, freedom).
- Construct a case study of anticipated failure and project your response.
General Education Outcomes (GEOs)
Course Activities and Grading
Weekly Discussion Board and Participation
Failure Resume - Unlike a traditional CV of accomplishments, here students are asked to outline and unpack projects that did not come to fruition in a similar fashion. This CV should be annotated with explanations of failures for each major project.
Exhibition of Errors - Each College Unbound student presents a public exhibition of their project development every 8 weeks. Upon completion of this course, students are asked to present an outline of future possible shortcomings of their project.
Failure Interview - Students must conduct at least one interview of a colleagues failure. (45 minutes)
Portfolio Updates - Every 2 weeks students are asked to submit updates of their Action Research Project. (2 pages every 2 weeks)
- Halberstam, Judith. The Queer Art of Failure. Duke University Press Books, 2011. ISBN-10: 0822350459 or ISBN-13: 9780822350453
- Lamott, Anne. Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life. Anchor, 1995. ISBN-10: 0385480016 or ISBN-13: 9780385480017
- Lewis, Sarah. The Rise. Simon & Schuster, 2014. ISBN-10: 1451629230 or ISBN-13: 9781451629231
- Edmondson, Amy C. "Strategies for Learning from Failure." Harvard Business Review. N.p., Apr. 2011.
- Eight Talks About Learning from Failure
- Le Feuvre, Lisa. "Art Failure." Art Monthly 313.Feb (08): 5-8.
- Le Feuvre, Lisa. 2010. If at First you Don't Succeed...Tate etc (18, Sp), pp. 30-37. [Article] : Goldsmiths Research
- Paul Tough's NYTimes Article "What if the Secret to Success is Failure" Sept 14, 2011
|Week||SLOs||Readings and Exercises||Assignments|
Learning from Failure, Part 1
Learning from Failure, Part 2
Evidence of Failure
Failure and Mindset
Failure as Framework
COSC Accessibility Statement
Charter Oak State College encourages students with disabilities, including non-visible disabilities such as chronic diseases, learning disabilities, head injury, attention deficit/hyperactive disorder, or psychiatric disabilities, to discuss appropriate accommodations with the Office of Accessibility Services at OAS@charteroak.edu.
COSC Policies, Course Policies, Academic Support Services and Resources
Students are responsible for knowing all Charter Oak State College (COSC) institutional policies, course-specific policies, procedures, and available academic support services and resources. Please see COSC Policies for COSC institutional policies, and see also specific policies related to this course. See COSC Resources for information regarding available academic support services and resources.