The Experiment — After the First Week

I’ve completed the first week with my teaching experiment. So far the students don’t seem to be reacting very differently–no mass exodus, no more than the usual number of drops since the first day and all seats have been filled by those who have added. They’re not asking many questions yet, but perhaps that will change as we get into more content–the first official reading assignment isn’t due until next week.

I was struck by how much of the content from the first week was active, rather than lecture, so it’s not all that different yet from the way I taught previously. Still I completed the first topic in one fewer day. I posted my first supplementary material (aka former lecture notes that I would have lectured on). Looking at that material, it’s not anything critical and the students will be able to get it from reading the notes.

The one piece that was entirely original was a slide show of images illustrating the economic problem: stark photos of starving children in Africa, homeless people in the U.S., a family living in a tent during the Great Depression, and closer to home, a photo of gas prices in recent days, and the list of tuition and fees to our university. The images grabbed the students’ attention vicerally in a way my lectures, however well done, never did. For the first half of the slide show the class was silent; they only began making sound again with the last two slides.

One thing that is very different is the much greater amount of time I’ve spent preparing for class. I’m glad I have a reduced teaching load this term.

On to week 2!

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One Response to The Experiment — After the First Week

  1. Gardner says:

    Great stuff on the slide show: I have a very vivid mental image of the eloquent silence at that moment. There’s another interesting use of the face-to-face meeting time: a community of consideration, indeed a kind of communal witnessing. This kind of “content” can be distributed online, of course, but there’s a special power to being in the room, together, at such a moment.

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