Fall/Winter 2011 Observations

An issue I had to really deal with for the first time this semester was moving a class from a three day week to two days. I had done this before, but never in the way I had to for the fall semester. We moved to a mostly two day a week module and I had to create two versions of my 101 course: a Tuesday/Thursday and a Wednesday/Friday. Because of how holidays fell during the semester, they ended up on pretty different schedules as time went on. This was harder than I thought it would be because I had to keep a consistent schedule for both classes, but also make sure their schedules fit the days we were meeting.

For the most part, this ended up working. However, I can see some need for improvement. For the spring, I am dealing again with odd schedules because of Spring Break and other holidays.

Some random observations from the fall semester…

  • My Composition I classes wrote four papers this semester. A process analysis, reflective, argumentative, and then a research paper. For the first two, they didn’t have to do much outside research. For the second set, I saw a pattern emerge. The argumentation paper became the heavy research in books, EBSCO, and JSTOR paper. For their term papers on online privacy, most students relied heavily on technology blogs like ReadWriteWeb, Mashable, GDGT, and even the Security Now! podcast, which is one of my favorites. A few student’s papers looked like This Week in Tech panels, filled with articles from Dvorak, Winer, Prager, Malik, and others.
  • Mapping out my classes so I didn’t double up on papers being due really helped me out as the semester went on. I was able to easily grade 20-25 papers each week and send them all back on Sunday afternoons. I will be doing that every semester from now on.