the other side of the classroom

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I'm sitting in on a colleague's class on digital video this quarter. Not just any colleague, though--it's Weez. It's fun to be on the other side of the room for a change, listening to someone else talk. We've got very different styles, but that doesn't mean there aren't things that I can learn from watching her teach.

She's already made me laugh with some of her slide titles. The one we're looking at right now, for example, is on bandwidth and other technical topics. The title of the slide is "The hard stuff: Size matters". The students didn't even crack a smile when it appeared, alas. First day of class, they haven't yet gotten a sense of what the classroom protocols are, and most of them probably don't know Weez well enough to know that the humor was intentional.

With the exception of me, the students are sitting behind computer screens but not using them--they're focused on her, because they care about what she's telling them. (This is not to say that I don't care...simply that I'm distracted by having to prep for my 12:00 class, which follows hers in this same classroom.

6 Comments

"With the exception of me, the students are sitting behind computer screens but not using them"

I give that about a week before you see the back row chatting on IM and playing Flash games. :-)

Don't forget: your presence in the classroom also alters the environment - maybe more than you realize. Speaking as student, I can tell you that silent profs in the back of the room, with a vantage point that may enable them to see my CRT, always keeps me on my best behavior. (Not that I'm not that way always - I'm just sayin'.)

BTW: Welcome back. And it was nice to see the shout-out that Steve Orr gave you in the paper yesterday.

So nice to have a mole in their midst.

"I give that about a week before you see the back row chatting on IM and playing Flash games. :-)"


Indeed - I tend to be very respectful the first class - and not even pull out my laptop. After that though, laptop is always out unless _nobody_ in the class has one also.

Of course, I actually retain information pretty good when I am doing something else. For some reason it still sticks =)

"I���m distracted by having to prep for my 12:00 class, which follows hers in this same classroom."
-- and oh man did I feel like a geek being the only one that knew about all the technologies you mentioned =P

Today was my last day of class. I teach a seminar at Boalt Hall (the law school at UC Berkeley) on the Legal and Social Implications of the War on Drugs. I had a good semester, although the pressures of writing and teaching at the same time are enormous. I don't know how you do it, Liz. It's been seven years for me, and I think this is it. I think I'm done.

Dave, you're not a geek! You were simply showing that you're extremely in-the-know. :)

And Ayelet, the advantage of teaching tech topics is that it's impossible to teach the same thing for two years in a row, let alone seven--the landscape changes so quickly that I'm always teaching something new, to students with different skills, using different tools.

The down side of that, of course, is that I'm always doing prep, which is more than a little exhausting. And I am starting to burn out a little. Happily, I have only one class this quarter (a rare luxury), none next quarter, and next year it looks like I'll probably be on sabbatical. I'm hoping that will recharge me for another seven years or so...

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This page contains a single entry published on November 29, 2004 10:39 AM.

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