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Notes from the first week of classes

January 22, 2013

This is my first time teaching two sections of a lecture class in addition to my Hands-on-Science class. Collectively I have about 330 students this semester which is about four times as many students as I had last semester. Some notes regarding the first week of lecture classes:

  • I drastically underestimated the amount of time I would spend replying to emails regarding technology problems, students trying to get into the class, etc.
  • At the end of the first week I instituted a “If the answer is already on our website then I will not respond to your email” policy. This helps.
  • Clickers are awesome except when they don’t work. Right now clickers count as participation credit which means anyone whose clicker isn’t working is emailing me daily. I need to see what some other people think about credit/no credit for clickers.
  • I need to keep notes on what percentage of students get each question correct before and after peer discussion. I realized this half way through the third class and hopefully will remember from now on.
  • I’m using Screencast-o-Matic to record videos of me solving example problems. Diagrams and equations in Keynote take awhile so I might try working it out on paper and taking pictures of each step with my phone.
  • I’m going to offer students the opportunity to do their own screencast of a solution in place of two participation grades. This is intended for students whose clickers aren’t working yet but I’m a little worried everyone will do it and overwhelm me.
  • I have two graduate student TAs and I’m not exactly sure how to use them. At the moment I have them setting up four office hours a week and that’s it.
  • Homework and exams are currently multiple choice but I would like students to turn in some free response questions. I’m not sure how to handle this with 280 students.
  • The first week has been all about damage control. Hopefully I can get a rhythm down and find some time to do research.
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From → Teaching

4 Comments
  1. Good Luck this week! I can’t even imagine. Can TAs circulate in lecture, or help assess screen casts, or free response questions?

  2. I have two LAs who circulate in lecture so I’m not asking the TAs to come to lecture. I will certainly have TAs help assess free responses and screen casts if I get overwhelmed.

  3. secretseasons permalink

    Not sure what software you’re using, but in iClicker you can save all the response data for votes and re-votes and then you don’t have to separately take notes on percent correct.

  4. We do use iClickers so I’ll have to look into that. Thanks for the tip secretseasons!

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