Tonight’s class was my third one on my own. Going into class I started to feel like maybe I was doing something wrong. I had gotten a lot of emails about people missing class at the last minute. I was expecting a full class of 18 this semester when I started. I started with 15 and lost one in the first week. Tonight I had 3 email out and 3 no shows. Thankfully 2 of the no shows just ran late, but a class with only 10 people felt small. But about half way through I felt a lot better about it thanks to student feedback.
I started as I had planned with going over the forum posts from the previous week. I felt like I had to be careful how I wanted to approach the classes late postings to Moodle. They were technically in the window I had allotted them to do the postings in, but most of them were doing it just hours before class. I was told by one student that their problem was time management. Being familiar with this issue I offered my advice on the matter as did a few other students. I felt like that helped them by getting more ideas then just mine own for them to mull over and incorporate into their life.
After covering the basics and having the students take the weekly reading quiz, which I found they did a lot better on, I moved onto my topic of the night, the Windows Command Line. Unlike my previous classes, I did not have a PowerPoint presentation ready to show them while I lectured. Tonight, instead, I demonstrated. I figured that the class would brush past the basics as they had before and we would move right on to the more advanced stuff. To my surprise most had not used the CLI interface before so this was starting from scratch for them. I realized it as soon as I got a question and when I looked around I saw notebooks over and people furiously writing down what I was showing them. I took the opportunity to address some differences between operating systems CLI while I was showing them the Windows version. I was very surprised to see how many had been using other CLI’s and not been taught some of the most essential aspects of it, mainly how to find the help.
While I was engaging the class and we continued to work with the example on the screen, I noticed a few laptops out. At first my mind thought that they weren’t paying attention and instead doing other tasks. Then I reflected on it a little more and realized that I had asked them to submit all their work in digital format and I hadn’t even given them a single hand out in class. They could very well be doing what I didn’t realize I was telling them, go digital and don’t waste paper. They students that were on laptops were still feeding back while I was going over the topic, so even if they were doing other tasks they weren’t completely disengaged from the lesson I was giving. My mind was appeased and I continued on with my demonstration.
By the time I looked at the clock I had realized that I had let too much time go by and they wouldn’t have time to drag out the computers. set them up, work on the labs, and tear them back down again. Instead I improvised and went over the lab assignments that were now homework and the additional tasks I had given them past the vocab matching this week. I again went over that I was hoping to get all the lab work done during the lab section of time, but it didn’t seem like we would have the opportunity. Next week I’m going to get feedback on which they felt helped them learn more, the Analysis or the Key Term quiz. Going forward I’ll only use one or the other.