Class over. There were days when I imagined it would never be over. And days when I cursed myself for holding down a full time job, preparing to go on the academic cattle-call and attempting to narrate 12 centuries of Islamic history in 1.5 hour digestable bites. And days when the discussion really was fruitful and the students really made an effort. Now it is all over. I had never taught this class before, and don't know if I ever will again - so the research took a lot out of me but now I have some useful maps and lectures.
Wherein stock is taken:
No more teaching unless I have an Asst. Prof next to my name. Have a nice weekend, gentle readers.
I remember the days that teaching was awesome and I remember the days when I was talking to a wall. Congrats on your work and thanks for sharing. You can click my homepage link to read one of my teaching experiences. You can skip the high school angst part in the middle.
Congratulations on your successful course and it sounds like you did a splendid job. I wish my prof. could link/scan everything too !!
congrats, your class sounds like a success! getting people to appreciate the concept of 'islamicate' is no easy task, kudos! (prof blogs can be very helpful especially in law school, allows one to interact with the prof, have virtual office hours, and never lose a piece of paper)
many thanks, y'all. sumunah, your entry was great. such electric moments, rare as they are, make it all possible.
OK, I'm starting to be convinced. How many students did you have? How much of the techno-stuff did you have to do on your own v. institutional or prepackaged software stuff? Can I take your class?
Jonthan: I had 24 students. I did all of my techno-stuff but there isn't that much: WordPress for the blog (installs in 5 minutes); hosted on my account at the university; pwd protection builtin the blog; JSTOR etc. for majority of articles and scanner for all the rest. Handouts/Maps scanned as well - the maps esp. were great because there are some crappy maps on the internets. if you like, I can send you the url for the class blog and you can take a look around.
Hi! I loved your comments on the results of blogging in this class. I am planning to replace my previous use of discussion boards with a blog when I next teach in the summer. The question I am working on (based on earlier discussion board use) is how to get students to talk to each other on the blog. In the past, I've required a certain amount of postings, and a certain amount of talking to someone else, but I am on the lookout for any hints you have. (The key, it seems, is to get them to do this without overbearing requirements to do so!)
Kate, I had a little tutorial on blogrules. I printed out a few entries and their comments from my favorite history blog (Cliopatria) . I passed them out to students as examples of a good post and how comments are made - what role they serve, what rules govern them. I also stressed that the a chorus-line is a good thing. So I told them to please simply comment, "you are right, I agree", if that's the only thing they have to say. And it helped. As far as the assignments went; an early one was that I divided the class into three groups. One group posted an article review; another group commented on the post- stressing what they felt was missing; and the third group posted a new post in which they tried to synthesize the discussion so far and added their inputs - and the first two groups commented on their final take. Yeah, it feels like a big jumble but it worked - since the point was simply to get them to post and comment. I won't say that I reached the level of involvement that would have made me really happy. But by the last few weeks, kids were posting and commenting on newsworthy things they had come across - that is, away from any assigned topics or readings. Which I took as a sign, ultimately, of success.
Cool. This gentle reader wonders if that blog is still up, and what's the url? It'd be interesting to take a look, if you don't mind. ~ Connor
Sepoy, Your techniques sound useful. I too would love to see the blog if you did not mind a few visitors!
kate & connor: suddenly I am unsure if I should allow others into the blog - the kids posted with their real names & email addresses and the blog was understood to be restricted off the www. seems like a privacy thicket to me. so, what I will do is to put up the blog with my lecture posts for all of you to see after the break. And take out any student posts/comments.
sepoy, you're right about the privacy issues--this is an important consideration. i hope you don't have to go to too much trouble over this, but thanks for sharing (in the interests of pedagogy, etc. etc.) kate