Wednesday, March 31, 2004
as marathon runners say, i have hit the wall. spring break kind of breaks the momentum - i'm starting to wonder if quarters aren't better than semesters...
abyhow - i'm debating whether EVERY activity needs grading - right now i'm doing a number of ungraded activities - that i feel are valuable practice - i suppose that as long as the class seems motivated in performing them, there is no need to worry about it. additionally, these activities are kind of practice for their graded work....any thoughts?
Wednesday, March 10, 2004
goals for 2nd half:
keep up variety in presentations and expand into other classes
more group work
consistent late policy
here is what i wrote in january about what i wanted to accomplish - 1/2 way thru the term, i will assess my progress and later on post some new goals...
- require assignments to be completed in a more "professional manner" - possibly have students turn in assignments in memo form - this will reinforce the skills they have learned in previous classes and will, i hope, cultivate a sense of professionality made some progress here, need to be more consistent and enforce more rigidly
- a more consistent late policy. i have become convinced for, at least in my own circumstances, the need to be flexible with turning in assignments. i have found so many students benefit from this - not in terms of grades, but in learning. if a student doesn't "get" something immediately, too harsh of a late policy will cause them to blow off the assignment, or possibly drop the course. a diligent student who just gets a bit lost will take advantage of a flexible policy, do the assignment, really learn it and then move on. that being said - i need to be consistent to prevent abuse and provide some incentive for being on time - and to give a sense of professionality as far as deadlines need to improve
- encourage student reflection. i will have a protfolio project in two of my 4 classes and must try to incorporate this into my other classes. have made the portfolio assignments as well as an extracredit blog in one of my classes - have to followup, review and give feedback - talk about more in class
- vary lecture presentation - more activities, more group work, less "me"...it is tough for the ego to accept - but thinking about students learning instead of me teaching, means my job is to create a learning environment and not be the all knowing authority lecturing all the time. balance is the key i think here is where i have made the most progress - keep up the good work
- allow for reworks. a big flaw in my classes (and most of the ones i've taken, prior to grad school) is that there is little opportunity for students to go back and correct their mistakes. so if a student gets something wrong, doesn't learn it, there is no opportunity or incentive to go back and redo it. i tried that this year with my midterms in several classes and it seemed to work well. in fact, one student re-did his final on his own - even though there was no benefit, gradewise. i have to think the re-do i allowed on the midterm planted the seed for this. imagine how good that made me feel.have not done this to any degree - encourage students to do it right - even if late - last term i started this with the midterm - perhaps i will this term as well
- better assignments. more open ended. less spoon fed. more "project" type stuff ok - could be better - in 2 of the 4 classes students have a term project - so this gives them a chance to pull together
all in all made progress, but still a lot to learn - will post goals for rest of term after i think about it...
Thursday, March 04, 2004
my tai chi teacher is an excellent teacher. today, when showing us a form, he showed us how the movements coupld be used as self defense. this allowed us to see the moves in a context. it made the material so much clearer...
Thursday, February 19, 2004
this term, i have gotten annoyed with a student who has been consistenly rude in class. i haven't really made it obvious i am annoyed, but feel like perhaps my annoyance is showing to a degree. must develop a bit of a thicker skin and let stuff like this roll off me.
Wednesday, February 18, 2004
i teach a multimedia class and we touch on powerpoint in a section about "instant" multimedia. i have tried to discuss the downside of the useage of powerpoint by discussing what edward tufte and others have said about it.
well, we moved on to discussing the system development process and i was a bit pressed for time in preparing for the class, so i pulled out a presentation i did about a year ago about the topic. i decided to kill two birds with one stone by a. showing the presentation as a way to reinforce the subject matter and b.) give the students a chance to critique the powerpoint presentation.
i think this worked out extremely well. the powerpoint presentation, i would describe as very average - nothing horrible, but nothing outstanding. the comments that some students gave were priceless though. one student desribed that when seeing this or any powerpoint presentation - regardless of how it is - she tends to glaze over and when an instructor simply talks and develops the ideas on a white board, she becomes more attentive and engaged - thinking about what is being said and processing the information. at least one other student reinforced that. powerpoint, a tool for sales presentations, seems to me to be at odds with the goals of a classroom. in a sales presentation, you don't want the audience to think; you want them to buy. by spoonfeeding and making a lecture look like a sales pitch, it seems, at least for some students, to turn them into passive observers as opposed to participants in the process; they are not thinking about what is being said, nor are they processing it. i rarely use powerpoint in class, and after this will use it less frequently still.
the same student told me that she had taken a class just in powerpoint and no one had ever mentioned any negatives about it until i did. i took that as a big compliment.
Monday, February 16, 2004
content delivery in the 'blogosphere'
link from teachnology
note to self: read this article - it might help!
Monday, February 09, 2004
i am giving my advanced web development class a chance to earn extra credit by keeping a blog - they must reflect upon their learning and post links related to web development with commentary.
an advantage of small classes is that it lends itself to experimentation. if i am going to look foolish with some new thing i want to try, at least i will embarass myself in front of only a handful of students. i feel good that i am comfortable enough in the day-to-day teaching activities that i can try some more innovative things.