Who Dropped the Ball? I Guess It Was Me

I spent a fair amount of time last weekend thinking about what went wrong in the first year seminar on Thursday. I didn’t realize until today that I was looking too far afield.

My first thought was to be disappointed in my students. Why had none of them done what I requested? Upon reflection, I decided that such thoughts were pointless. Whatever the reason, they didn’t get it. The question was how to make it right.

For Tuesday’s class I planned to model for the students what I hoped they had done during Thursday’s session. I began by explaining that on Thursday, I had wanted them to develop questions to elaborate on the presentation I was giving, and to post those questions in real time on the class’ chat box. It was at this point that the students blurted out that they had no idea I had wanted them to post the questions. Apparently, in my efforts to juggle all the balls I had planned for Thursday’s session, I had forgotten to mention this element to the students. (Martha, who was present in class on Thursday, confirmed this for me later today.)

To say that I felt bad is an understatement. We proceeded to have a very good class Tuesday. I asked the students to develop the questions; their list was essentially the same as mine. Martha’s very helpful post yesterday gave me the idea of asking students to “google jockey” for answers to these questions. I asked three students to do so while the rest developed the remainder of the questions. As the jockies discovered an answer, they would stop our discussion and call it out, as well as providing source information. I wrote the answers down on the board next to the questions. By the end of class, we had found answers for all the questions about the U.S. textile industry. I asked the students to develop similar answers for China’s textile industry for next class. You can see the responses to date here.

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