[teaching] A student’s perspective on course selection

I stumbled across this article while waiting for a meeting to start. It is a bit “inside baseball”, in this case “inside brandeis” but it was revealing to me at least. Students can “shop” for courses for the first two weeks of the term, attending classes and adding and dropping at will during that time as they settle for their choices. I guess when I went to college they had that too, but I wasn’t aware of how it worked, so I never did it.

It makes for odd dynamics in the class room as for the first two weeks you don’t really know who to expect to see, who will show up next time, and whether they are keeping up or not. This writer does not seem to be enjoying his college experience as much as I did 🙂

The Brandeis Hoot » Course selection shopping period: the honeymoon is over:

Not so this semester. At final tally, I had signed up for five classes and audited seven more only to realize that I did not enjoy the class. So what was the problem? What do I look for in a class? The first consideration I take into account is whether it fulfils course requirements. The truth is that I don’t particularly enjoy 90 percent of the classes I join, and I am frankly confused when I hear of someone taking a class “for fun”.


Selling course notes: a market solution

Should it be ok for students to take notes during a class and turn them into a marketable product that they make money on?

If I am teaching the same class again this year, students could buy the course notes and potentially do better, or learn more. That’s a good thing, right?

However is it fair to me? After all these students are becoming multi-millionaires by reselling my work, my intellectual property. Yeah right.

One professor has an amusing solution to this dilemma, but I think it still misses the point;

Precisely. Besides which, I’ve figured out a much more fun solution to the problem: I’m going to buy some of these note sets and outlines being sold for my classes. I’ll go through them and find all the mistakes. And then I’ll write exam questions testing on those very same mistakes. If we all did that, the market would dry up pretty quick. (from Professor Bainbridge.com)

Interesting approach to teaching computer science

Fun article about Ben Hescott who has some unique – and impressive – approaches to teaching an abstract topic:

Q. Did you experience an “aha’’ teaching moment?

A. My first time teaching, I was using PowerPoint slides. One student kept saying, “I don’t see it.’’ So I turned off the computer, grabbed a piece of chalk, and went through the material slowly on the blackboard, without notes. Afterward, the kid said, “You’re a really good teacher when you’re not using PowerPoint.’’ That changed everything.” (from The Boston Globe)

You have to read the whole interview!