We begin the exercise by drawing on existing maps of the campus and community of Purdue University, considering both the consistencies and variations from map to map. This project could, obviously, be reconfigured in differing form for other contexts. The primary activity involves gathering and comparing maps in order to talk about the ways in which each constructs a different but equally objective viewpoint (as well as the ways in which each map or viewpoint engenders differing sorts of realworld activities). In the discussions resulting from this activity, we talk about the ethical responsibilities and the social values of selecting and arranging pre-existing fragments of knowledge.
As with most campuses, the students bring one or two primary types of maps, the ones they receive through some official channel by virtue of their being a student. In addition, a few students bring other sorts of maps -- those given out by athletic information to the purchasers of tickets to sporting events, those contained in phone books, those posted on bulletin boards and informational kiosks and on the WWW. All of these maps are relatively accurate and apparently objective. This is what maps are supposed to do. Good maps are those that best represent the object they map.
[starting the discussion] [map]