The secret

Feb 18 2013 Published by under [Et Al]

Several students have asked me why I don't post slides before the lectures. While I have several valid reasons for not doing so, the secret is they're not usually done until <1 hour before. Shhhhhh

7 responses so far

  • DJMH says:

    Also, "Because otherwise you would just skip class altogether."

  • Darwin Fish says:

    I know this dates me, but these requests (demands?) still surprise me. I can't imagine asking my 1990s professors for their lecture notes before the class. We did have one professor, teaching biochemistry, who believed in giving the notes as handouts at each lecture. This professor was actually thought of as weaker than the others because the handouts promoted a note-taking laziness that we all regretted at exam time. (Notice that we blamed him, as if getting the handouts made all our writing implements cease to function and notebooks evaporate.) This, however, was a liberal arts college where teaching was encouraged as an art and science to itself, and there were many talented lecturers who had developed their skills to be able to communicate information using a chalk board and lecture in a way that one could listen, absorb, and take notes.

  • Joshua King says:

    I no longer give out any lecture notes, study guides, or powerpoints. I've also abandoned all so-called "webcourse technology." I also give only pop-quizzes. The result: my student evaluations are more bitchy, but attendance is near-perfect for most students, grades are higher, and the students have a lot more to say when we do discussion groups and in-class exercises.

  • Alex says:

    I think we should make available absolutely everything beforehand. In fact, forget about powerpoints. We should make the raw source materials available beforehand. You know, books, journal articles, etc.

    Furthermore, I think we should do away with this antiquated notion of people gathering together to study. We'll just post books and articles in online libraries, and people can study those. It will be totally open and digital and very modern and hip and trendy.

    And then, after people have had these totally unstructured experiences where firehoses of information were made available to them and nobody forced anybody to show up in person and everything is self-directed and we've slapped every imaginable educational buzzword on it, we'll see how much they know.

    What's funny is that what I'm describing above, a hip and modern educational experiment turned up to 11, is not so different from some foreign systems. Yes, they have lectures, but by and large people are expected to prepare for major exams by availing themselves of books and whatnot. It's considered very antiquated, and if you ran this idea by any hip and modern education reformer they would recoil. But as soon as you say "Oh, no, we'll do it digitally..." they're all excited.

  • Terry says:

    It is funny how students will often assume that all that happens in class is with full intentionality and ultimate levels of preparation. They really don't want to think of us as human, it seems. I can live with that.

    While education people are wedded to technology and buzzwords and fancy new ideas that are reinventions of old ideas, it's not so different in ecology, either.

  • proflikesubstance says:

    I don't care if they come to class, that's on them. I try and make it interactive so that it is not straight lecture and they engage, and I don't have too many issues with attendance. But the flexibility in my teaching schedule (whether I finish the slides for a class is not critical to me) and the fact that I am adding interactive parts means that I am often adding things up to the last minute. I'm happy to provide slides, but after class.

  • Nikki says:

    My feeling is this: There's a detailed syllabus on the class website that describes which topics are going to be discussed on which days. Students can prepare for the lecture BEFORE it actually occurs.

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