Course update #3

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This is going to be a short one, as I'm a little pressed for time, but expect a longer retrospective in the next day or two. Tonight, if I have time.

My course is still going quite well, but I've made a couple of changes. First, I lopped off a week, and inserted a catch-up week, so that folks could get on top of the note-blogging and the delicious account. What I realized early on was that I'm not super happy with the available tools; the combo of WP and Delicious has been okay, but not great. It's made it easy for folks to fall behind, and so I gave us a week off from the grind to get caught up. Were I to do a course like this again, I'd build it in. Normally, I do this in my syllabus anyway, but I didn't have this course organized soon enough to be able to.

The second change I made was to our class meetings, and to be fair, it was at the urging of a couple of the students. For the first 5 or so weeks, students were reporting out on their four articles in 10-15 minute chunks. After spring break, though, and after our pause week, we shifted to a model where they reported only one article at a time, and another person would pick up the conversation by connecting one of their articles with that one. As one of the students put it, it allowed us to focus on the conversation rather than coverage--as the semester went on, we were having trouble fitting everyone in anyway, as they became more comfortable with their areas.

This shift has them thinking less about their articles in blocs, and more in terms of the tags, themes, and the transitions that they might make from one of their essays to another person's. It has the added bonus, I think, of keeping everyone alert to connections and transitions.

I'm not sure that this would work straight out of the gate, though, so I'm happy with how it's gone. I think they needed to feel anchored in their areas, and so the longer report model was a good way to start. But as the weeks marched on, it was good to change it up, and to focus their attention differently during class time.

This week I hand out the question for our final exam, which they'll be taking in a little less than 2 weeks. I continue to be amazed at how well this all has gone, and continue to appreciate how enthusiastically the students have taken it up. I'm very thankful. Having the course go well has been a real boost for me this semester.

I have a few overall sorts of thoughts that I'll share soon, because there are aspects of the course that I feel like I've lucked into a bit, ones that wouldn't make this model quite as useful in other contexts. But I'll save those for another entry. One of the things I'm thinking about doing is inviting the students to write up the course with me and submit it to the Praxis section of Kairos, so I definitely have some incentive to keep thinking about it...

That's all. Happy Sunday.


What I realized early on was that I'm not super happy with the available tools; the combo of WP and Delicious has been okay, but not great. It's made it easy for folks to fall behind

I'd like to hear more about this.

Will do, Bradley. It may be a few days, but I'll talk a little about what I was hoping to do with that combo, and where I think it fell short...


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This page contains a single entry by cgbrooke published on April 19, 2009 7:40 PM.

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