- The Culture Reports in my upper-level literature class. Because the course was supposed to include a focus on both literature and culture over a 350-year period, it made sense to me to share the burden of gathering this information with my students. The students commented that not only did they learn interesting material but they felt that they had ownership of the class.
- The annotated bibliography in the same class. Most of them had never completed one before, but it's an assignment I often use with success.
- The emphasis in my gen-ed sophomore survey on lifelong learning and student response to the reading. Several students said they had never had a teacher be interested in what they liked or didn't like before. I find that those conversations can lead to deeper analysis if they're encouraged.
- Teaching computer skills to my first-year composition students. They all feel more digitally accomplished than before the semester started, which adds to the value of the class.
- GoogleDocs for the workshops, as I discussed in a previous post.
- My composition class's PowerPoint presentations, which were almost all excellent and on the whole better than most sophomore presentations I've seen.
Some things had mixed results:
- The paperless classroom, which made it easier to keep track of my grading, but also easier to avoid it. It also caused some student stress, though nothing unmanageable.
- The Study Wikis in my sophomore class. They were a great idea, but the students needed some clearer guidelines. By contrast, the extra-credit Study Wiki in my upper-level course was truly impressive--because I gave them clear indications of what would be on the test, instead of making them discover the questions. The Research Wikis in my composition course were mostly a failure, also because they didn't receive clear enough guidelines.
- I loved the personal nature of the Blogs, but I couldn't keep up with them over the course of the semester, so I couldn't give them immediate feedback or help guide their thinking in the way I had hoped.
- PowerPoints, as mentioned previously.
And one thing that I will definitely change:
- The final paper in composition, which asked my students to align themselves with a political party. Only about half of the students did a good job with this, simply because the task was too large. In future, I would ask them to pick a particular issue, research it, take a stand, and then identify which political parties agree with their view. This would require several steps. But for the moment, I'm finished with directly pushing citizenship. As the students mentioned in their blogs, they're just now able to vote and they're still figuring their way in the world. Some focus on citizenship is good, but too much just overwhelms them.
I feel content with my performance this semester and proud of my students' achievements, which is all I really ask for.
|And that's a wrap!|
*Image from the Troy Public Library