This week I’m attending a workshop on pedagogy and I’m hearing lots of interesting ideas from people teaching really exciting and innovative courses. They are incorporating service learning, multi-week projects, location-centric courses, and intro courses for particular audiences (say, business majors). They are doing cool case studies, fun field activities, integrating current events, and designing real world applications. It’s inspiring, and honestly, a little overwhelming. (And this is only the second day!)
Right now I’m contemplating revising my intro course, but I’m not sure when I’ll be teaching it again, and I’m thinking about how I want to structure my new upper-level prep. Since I’ve taught the intro course before, most of my concrete ideas and questions are relevant to that class.
- What are the things that I really want my students to get out my classes? (It’s probably not really specific content, but more to do with process, quantitative skills, and communication skills).
- How do I integrate conceptual and skills-based projects with an existing assessment structure centered around multiple choice quizzes and tests (an unfortunate side effect of large sections)?
- How do I add those projects without overwhelming myself and my students?
- How can I really integrate current events with my lectures without frantically revising each lecture at the last minute?
- The age-old breadth versus depth question…If I increase depth of content in my intro course, by sacrificing some breadth, how will this tradeoff affect majors who need this course as a prerequisite to future courses?
- Can I make any meaningful revision in my intro class when I teach one of five sections?
- How am I going to structure the labs of my new upper level course in order to include development of professional skills (incl. communication) and a unifying project?
More to come?