February 26, 2010

And sometimes I do something right (for a change)

Posted in Helpful Hints, miscellaneous other matters, student stories, teaching revelations tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , at 4:22 am by profart

With the increasing crush of posts and emails to the effect of “this class has so much information, how can I learn it all this week, in time for the midterm???” I get this time of year- increasing not only with the flow of the semester itself, but in comparison year to year- I decided to put my butt in gear and do something. After all, I teach intro classes. My students are about 40-60% first-years, and some of my non-first-years are only that by technicality (in reality, their “first year” was 20 years ago, and they are back for another round of college in order to finally finish/get a new degree/change careers/etc). The idea of “study skills” is either non-existant, forgotten, or not internalized for whatever reason. The result is a lot of students with few or no tools for independently learning and analyzing material. In other words, they have no clue what to do with the elephant on their plate, and don’t even know what a fork is.

So, as I said, I put my butt in gear, and put together a new tutorial module, “How to Study.” I included some basics on studying techniques, note-taking, and the all-important flashcards and timelines, so useful for beginning art history students. I put in some weblinks to cool sites about all these topics, posted it, and held my breath.

So far, I have sixteen thank-you emails, four thank-you posts, and a instant ebb of the “How do I do this???” messages. Holy frijoles, I might have actually helped somebody and taught them something.

I mean, something actually useful.