Common Pitfalls

Of the five pitfalls, all but #2 will be a challenge.  My current style of teaching my large lecture course leans heavily on all of the remaining pitfalls.  If I had to pick one that will be most difficult I would pick #5.  My class doesn’t have a tremendous amount of student to student interaction, and when it does occur the students are either compelled to participate (i.e. team activities) or it tends to be guided by me rather heavy handedly.  I think my reluctance to do more student to student interaction is driven by a) the sheer size of the class which makes it rather unwieldy b) my, perhaps too intense, desire to cover all the content in a 10 week sprint.  This desire makes me a bit of a control freak who fears student to student interaction may lead to aimless, off topic forays which eat into what little time I have.

I’m hoping the hybrid model will provide a means for me to loosen the reins a bit.  Perhaps through the groups function I could create cohorts at the beginning of the term.  These cohorts could work together throughout the term to study, perhaps present on key concepts, discuss topics on a discussion board, etc.  My hope would be they would develop a bond and turn to the group for help and support.  Having said that, one concern I have is how to make this meaningful for the students.  I fear it will either be a bust with little or no participation or if I compel the students to do it through points it will simply become a “have to do” item and they will just go through the motions to get the points rendering the exercise meaningless.

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One Response to Common Pitfalls

  1. pugatcht says:

    I’m struggling with these same issues (as my own post “How to encourage student-student interaction?” makes clear). Your concerns about student interaction interfering too much with a carefully crafted lesson plan struck a chord; I seem to always be racing to cover all the material I cram into a lecture. I’m hoping the hybrid and “flip the classroom” formats will help with this. If the lecture is online, I can precisely control how much material the students are responsible for in a given unit. No more postponing or eliminating materials because the in-class time wasn’t managed well! At least, that’s my hope…

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