Archive for February, 2007

General Education Forum

I attended the general education requirement forum this evening and despite the small turnout it was still an hour of interesting conversation.

One of the hot topics was the role of the Freshman Seminar and even I felt compelled to get up and put my two cents in, which surprised me because I’m usually not comfortable with public speaking. I have a lot of faith the first year seminar can be a great experience for freshman because it will introduce them to learning at a higher level through class discussion and having a closer relationship with the professor and class mates. They also discussed replacing English 101 with the Freshman Seminar. Students had varying opinions, which were usually directly related to their experience in 101 or the FSEM. If they had a good experience “We should keep 101” and if it was a bad experience, “Lets get rid of it!”

There was a round of applause when they announced that they would be getting rid of the technology proficiency for the incoming class of freshman.

It surprised me (well sort of) that there were students who were clinging to some of the gen-eds and the faculty and older members of the board were pushing to rethink liberal education. In my English class I read an excerpt from a book about the millennial generation (my generation) and how many people  my age are concerned with jumping through hoops and not rocking the boat. That essay mainly discussed students in ivy-league schools, but I think it applies to a lot of people who attended the forum. Aren’t people my age supposed to be rebelling against the system and in support of the radical stuff? Of course that is just a generalization.

What I noticed most is that the students seemed concerned with other peoples education. What I mean by this is, “How will you make sure people are getting that well rounded education?” “What will stop people from taking a bunch of 100 level courses? ” and so on and so forth. These students acted as if these classes would be going somewhere, that by getting rid of some of these gen-eds that the classes would magically disappear or somehow the opportunity to take classes would no longer be viable. The board kept pressing the fact that many classes integrated the requirements already in place and that it wouldn’t actually change the way the professors taught the class.

What question/comment that really stuck out to me was when a student said something to the effect, “When applying for graduate school they will be able to see that I took classes in foreign language, science, english and I will have that wide range of classes under my belt. Students in the future who won’t have this.” Again the idea that these classes are going to disappear. In addition, that student doesn’t seem to have faith that students can take control of their own education. Students are so concerned with the “checklist” of things that need to be done that they can be missing their education. The new gen-eds can be loose enough that students can take control, but give enough support to give people that aren’t quite sure what to do a wide variety options to find a path.

I’ve come away from the whole experience feeling the faculty and board are more excited and free thinking about the students education then the students are about it. What is wrong with this picture?

Interactive Viewing

For a week or two I’ve had a saved draft about the ways shows are engaging viewers outside the episodes of the show. I just never got around to finishing it, but I stumbled across this article, so I started a new post because I was too lazy to go back to the old one.

I have been a fan of the Sopranos for awhile so naturally I am excited that it is starting up again. I’ll also admit the fact that it takes place in my home state is an appeal, so when I saw this interactive feature I could not resist.

“The Time-Warner unit will launch interactive satellite maps from Google on its web site starting on February 27 to highlight the locations of key plot points involving James Gandolfini’s character Tony Soprano and his cronies on the series. HBO will also buy search advertising keywords from Google in order to drive people to the maps.”

So I googled ‘Sopranos’ and the second thing that popped up was the interactive map. So for people that don’t have a life (like myself) or people looking to remember what had happened since Sopranos was last on it was a great tool. I have been discovering more and more ways that broadcasting companies are reaching out using the internet, and doing it creatively.

Also despite the fact that I don’t get HBO here I am sure I’ll find a way to download new episodes, thank God for the internet!

And maybe I’ll get around to posting that other saved draft.

Abolishing Homework

I read an interesting article over at the San Francisco Chronicle about a high school teacher who does not assign his students homework. It also discussed an elementary school that got rid of its homework policy.

I agree that for most elementary school age kids long periods of homework are not helpful and it is better spent doing other activities. The sticky spot is when students get to middle school and high school, the data gets a little fuzzy. I’m sure all students would want less homework, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that it is good to get rid of homework. Personally, I didn’t do my homework often and my test scores were fine, but I ended up getting not so good overall grades because homework counted as part of the grade. I am just one student though so what works for me may not work for someone else. I will admit though that homework can be beneficial, even in college. For my Econ class I have to do little quizzes on Aplia.com and this forces me to think about the material and it has helped me better understand the material.

The article made a point, which I think is one of the most important, that teachers need to consider what they are assigning as homework. Is it busy work? Or it is thought-provoking and beneficial to the student? Of course it is probably easier to get a student to do a fill in the blank worksheet over a sheet that asks for written response, but this brings up another question. What could teachers do to motivate students to do homework and care about their education? This leads to bigger questions about the role of the teacher and students and perhaps even the whole grading system.

So many question…

A New Toy!

I was half asleep when I entered my 9:30 Econ class, but as soon as I saw Jerry was talking with my professor I knew something exciting was going to happen.

Our lucky class got to play with a new toy, the iClicker, and it was a fun experiment. Everyone in the class got to use an object that resembled a remote with a A,B,C,D,E and an On/Off button on it.

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Simple enough to understand, right? So we did a multiple choice review for our midterm and when a question popped up on the screen we could click what we thought was the right answer and afterwards we could see a poll based on what everybody had picked. This is a great way to engage the class and to clear up questions and faulty logic right there in real time. I had fun with this new toy and I hope that I will see it again in the course of my learning.

Bored and Annoyed

One of the classes I am taking this semester is annoying me because I cannot figure out why I don’t like it.

This subject has always been one of my favorites and it aggravates me that I sit in class, bored silly, because my attention span grows really short. If anything my doodling skills have become better, but that doesn’t really help me when the time comes to take the midterm (which is this Friday).

The class is almost always the same format, a PowerPoint presentation with the main points and the professor fills in with details. Every class this semester has been like this except the two times we had a class discussion (which is a bunch of questions thought up by the professor) and that is about as exciting as the class has been. It is not like this is the same old information that I’ve heard in other classes on this subject, it definitely goes more in depth and discusses more topics. Despite this I cannot bring myself to listen to this professor talk for 50 minutes about anything. Maybe she is just giving us too much information and drowning us in detail? This is also a lower level course (it fulfills a requirement) so there is just the confusion of what I can expect from a professor who has a class of 60 people who are most likely taking the class to fulfill a requirement.

So maybe I know some reason as to why I don’t enjoy the class, but what can I do to change this? I’m not quite sure, but I’ve thought of at least one idea that could at least help me with organization. The professor puts up the PowerPoints before the day of the class and at first I had been printing it out and filling in the spaces, but that proved too messy. My laptop is still broken and dragging out my external keyboard is just a pain, but I think it might be the only way to I can pay attention because I can just copy and paste the PPT’s to a word document and then just fill it in that way. Maybe that way I’ll at least  have the notes to pass the class…

Reading the Past

As I mentioned in my last post I found my original online journal and I took the time to read through all the posts.

Long story short, I decided I needed to change my blog name (again) and so here I am.

I came up with this name in my Stats class and maybe it will stick, who knows…

ETA: It has already been pointed out to me by my friend that if you switched the title of the blog around it could have a completely different meaning, sigh…haha. My friend also didn’t know what loaded dice were anyway. I’m making this way too difficult…

It Blows My Mind

Ok I am on some sort of adrenaline rush right now, simply stated I found the first online journal I created (right before my sophmore year of high school in 2003).  Here is how it happened:

– I was reading comments on a post at Gardner Writes and out of curiosity I followed a username to this blog, where I read an article that was linked in one of the blog posts. It got me thinking about my LiveJournal that I used to keep and I decided to go back and look at my very first post. My first post said the reason I was now using LJ was because my friends had all gone over to LJ. So what online journal was I using before? Luckily I had mentioned it in my post and so I did some searching and I miraculously found my first ever online journal over at Blurty. I had completely forgotten about that journal and so of course I started to read and it really just blew my mind. It is dated August 16, 2003, over 3 years ago, and even though it seems like a short span of time I’ve realized how much I have grown since that point in my life. I haven’t had the time to read all my posts yet, but if I stumble across anything interesting I will be sure to blog about it, hey maybe I’ll even link to some posts (how embarrassing). I’ve never kept a journal when I was little, but realizing that I have unknowingly kept one since 2003 is a neat discovery.

The internet is an amazing place.


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