Trying to get students to engage in outside the box thinking tends to be hard to do and with not being able to engage then beyond this single semester makes it doubly so. When I was at the grad school, I had classes with a lot of the same students and teachers. I knew and was familiar with the environment I was in and what to expect from the people there. It enabled me to anticipate and come up with ideas that contradicted what would usually be the responses from my peers. This enabled not only myself to explore other ideas, but my classmates also. I’m finding trying to get my students this semester to do the same is a challenge. I don’t know if maybe I was an outlier before and was that drastically different in my grad school days, maybe I was. But when I was in school at CCV I remember being a very quiet and did just enough to get by. It wasn’t until I found a reason to really invest myself in school that I was finally engaged fully in my learning.
I see a lot of the students in my class with the same attitudes. I am struggling to increase their level of engagement, but I do feel like I have one success story. He started out the semester like the rest of the proficient and had the same level of engagement as the rest. Assignments were completed just before they were do as were Moodle postings. Over the course his participation in the online discussions has risen and his assignments are now coming in early and complete. It’s been a nice change, and some of his classmates have picked up a little bit, but I still feel like they have a lot more to offer back to the class and their classmates that I would love to draw out.
Overall I feel like this semester I’ve struggled to get the course itself developed and the material in place and haven’t had to time to fully devote to the interaction of students between each other and the material. While I believe, and from what I’ve heard, they are experiencing a new type of course and learning, I still feel like there is a lot more I can offer as an educator. I will be spending even more time on the actually activities for the next time I teach this class and reduce the lecture amount as I don’t feel the class found that as valuable as it was more material that is above and beyond the course requirements and of the A+ exam. I started covering that material as the majority of class wanted to learn more then the basics, but about 3 weeks ago the people who were looking for the basics wanted more time to focus on them. I struggle to cover everything I feel I should cover in the 3 hour class I have if I want to give them lab time. Now that I understand how much time stuff actually takes I believe I’m better able to plan my time. Although discussions that the students are highly engaged in can easily overrun their allotted time. I need to do a better job reining them in.