Note: These are sample questions; if you want to reflect on something else, feel free!
1) Think of something you’ve wanted to tell a person, but haven’t yet. Who are you thinking of, what would you say, and why would – or wouldn’t – you say it?
2) Did you have a goal – something you wanted out of the class – when you first walked into class?
3) What is your favorite type of lesson that we’ve done so far? What has been your least favorite? Do you prefer to study and work alone, in groups, or a mixture of the two?
4) Do you feel you have improved as a student since you enrolled in this class? Has this class strengthened an area of weakness for you, or played to your strengths in a way that makes your experiences here meaningful?
5) Do you want to learn something that the class hasn’t addressed yet? If you’re coming back for another semester, do you feel prepared to handle the challenges that the rest of the year holds?
6) Are your experiences in this class meaningful? Are your class experiences outside of class (blog, studying, work, etc.) meaningful? (Why/why not – as always)
7) One of my goals at the beginning of the year was to establish a community within each classroom. Has a community been established in your class? Are you part of it? Do you feel respected and included by others? Does anything need to change?
How would you describe this class – the material, the community, your experiences – to someone who’s never taken it before?
9) In your opinion, has this class been successful? Knowing what you know now about it, would you sign up again? Would you go elsewhere? Would you “re-enlist” with reservations?
10) Reflect back on the Star you drew a long, long time ago. (Imagine it!) Have any of the points shifted during the past few months, in any direction? Do you see anything on the horizon that will cause them to shift?
11) What do you feel you have learned this year (if anything?)
This class definitely gives a bunch of work. I think for the class to be more effective, you might consider making assignments shorter. For example, instead of 15 philosophical baseline responses that are a paragraph long, make it 5 or 6 paragraph long responses. Or 15 like 3 sentence responses.
I've been considering dividing the baselines into three five-question parts, with each part due roughly a week apart.
The really nice thing about that approach would be that the assignment couldn't sit around untouched for weeks only to be rushed at the end anymore. I might get more thoughtful responses if people felt like they could focus on fewer questions (although I think it's easier to procrastinate on shorter assignments than longer ones).
There's really only one reason - besides the fact that I planned each batch of, say, fifteen Baseline items to work in concert - that I'm reluctant to break up the work.
For better or worse, it will feel like I'm giving out three times as much work if I'm giving out three times as many handouts.
I've already received several comments from students who had me all year that I gave substantially more work this semester. In fact, the opposite is true. Students earned 40 grades this semester vs. 52 grades in the first semester. I assigned fewer blogs, fewer baselines, fewer study guides, fewer group projects, fewer "long projects" (one senior project vs. two six-pagers+artwork)...we didn't even do as many extra-credit printouts of blogs as we did last semester. I lectured less, and we watched less film. We had a number of days off, shortened days, etc., that we didn't have last semester. Even that extra time off didn't help
Before I continue, I want to emphasize that I'm not saying the class didn't require a substantial amount of work. I'm still sitting in my classroom grading papers. I'm not going to pretend I didn't ask a lot of you.
But even when I assigned less than 80% of what I used to assign, it still felt like more. I suspect that my students' reactions to what I'm assigning change automatically with the semester shift; there's really no other way to explain how so many people could have reached an erroneous conclusion regarding the work.
If that's the case, I'm not sure I could pull off a format switch that requires me to hand out three times as many papers on some assignments - even though I wouldn't change anything else - without having the class openly revolt.
All that said, Nolan, I think it's a good suggestion; I just need to consider the ramifications more carefully before I decide whether to act on it.
Only users who are logged in may leave comments on this blog. Please follow the link below in order to log in.