First Days of the New Semester – 8/28/2012

Here we go, it is the second day of the semester, so I have met both my MW and TR class once so far.  This is a new and interesting semester for me.  We are teaching in our brand new academic building that has all of the latest technology in it.  As well, I am teaching a completely redesigned course.  If you followed my blog last semester, I talked about the push for redesign, and I have jumped in with both feet here.  This is a fully hybrid class that takes on the “flipped” model of moving the lectures outside of class and reserving class time for applying the material.

I am teaching two sections of this newly redesigned class and four sections of my more traditional online class.  So, I will have a direct comparison between the new class and one of my old models to see how it goes between them.

For the first day of class, it was largely a presentation of the class, ie. going through the syllabus and such.  However, I talked mostly about why this class exists as it does and how my changes are intended to improve the learning process.  Some of the big points I hit are:

  • what is a hybrid class and what does it mean to meet only one day a week?
  • what is a “flipped” classroom and what is the student responsibility that goes with that?
  • what does active learning mean as opposed to passive learning?
  • what does it mean to have a class graded on weekly participation?
  • how is the new emphasis on research and sources going to play out in the class?
  • and, of course, what is history and why is this a good method for studying it?

I was also very clear to the students that this is brand new.  In fact, in one of my classes, I called it the beta version of the class.  This is going to be an experiment on my part, and I told them to bear with me as we work through it, just as I will bear with them as they try to learn in a new way.  I also explained the high hopes I have for them in the course and how we realistically might reach them.  Finally, I told them that if they wanted a traditional, passive learning, lecture class, that they could go to most other history classes here.

I will try to update at least every week on this blog, as I have split the class in half, with each group meeting on only one day.  Thus, every four days, I will go through the same set of assignments with each group.  I will probably blog more, but this type of update will be at least weekly.

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About Scott Williams

I am an educator, community-college instructor, thinker, husband, parent of four, student of life, player of video games, voracious reader, restless wanderer, and all-around guy.

2 responses to “First Days of the New Semester – 8/28/2012”

  1. Reflective Thinking says :

    Sounds very interesting. I wish you luck with the new “flipped classroom” approach. I look foward to your updates


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