Wednesday, December 20, 2006

grading is over and winter break is here

today, i finished grading my fall courses and independent studies. it takes a lot to teach college students for an entire semester, so turning in grades is like crossing the finish line. i submitted my grades online and it actually worked.

that means winter break is here. on christmas day, sarah and i fly to minneapolis to join jini, don, pat, and jewlee. we'll be back in the city by the new year and classes don't start until january 22. i wanna chill. i wanna eat fresh food. i wanna explore the city. i wanna read books.

but before that, here's a few big things that i learned this semester:
  • my students' knowledge of digital media and culture varies greatly. i think the department needs a more general course, a prerequisite to classes like digital democracy, that would be something like "introduction to digital media and culture." some usf media studies students are insanely wired; some are not.

  • my students' research skills need significant improvement. they need to stop relying on google and wikipedia. they need to stop fearing books and libraries. and they need to start asking questions that take days - or maybe a week, or a few weeks, or even a year - to answer.

  • in the old days, it took multiple class sessions to teach stuff like unix, html, dreamweaver, and - ack! - ftp. today, powerful applications like blogs, flickr, and youtube are fairly easy to learn and afford us tools for massive creativity and collaboration. this semester, my students reminded me that we just might be living in interesting times.
and now ... winter break!

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sarah said...

hip, hip, hooray for the end of the semester and the beginning of break!

Anonymous said...

Snow angels. The tingle of early frostbite. Excellent. We'll be in the middle of Florida. (I rather think I prefer the Heartland.)

Meanwhile, I'm still grading.

jini said...

only 4 days til we see you two! we are looking forward to your arrival, and we have SNOW, however we will not guarantee it's lasting til you arrive.

Alex said...

It would be fun to do a "document Wikipedia" lesson. Assign a wikipedia article, and have each student really tear into the documentation that backs it up. What is the core literature that informs this event (etc.)? How do you know it is core literature? What did wikipedia miss that is worth knowing (esp. shades of interpretation)? What questions does it raise?

My grad students could use something similar. I have the intro seminar again in the fall, and I think we'll be doing a bit more in that line. Also next semester for my broad "Media & Society" seminar. I'll keep the content open, but really push a lot harder on the research process.

Happy new year!