Comments on: Class notes http://www.historiann.com/2012/05/31/class-notes-2/ History and sexual politics, 1492 to the present Sat, 20 Sep 2014 07:56:15 +0000 hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.2 By: Amy http://www.historiann.com/2012/05/31/class-notes-2/comment-page-1/#comment-1031176 Thu, 07 Jun 2012 18:20:58 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=18883#comment-1031176 I can’t write by hand for long for medical reasons, so I have to use a laptop. In class, I only use it to take notes and people who use it for other reasons (texting, surfing the net, etc.) distract those of us who are there to learn.

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By: Historiann http://www.historiann.com/2012/05/31/class-notes-2/comment-page-1/#comment-1026712 Fri, 01 Jun 2012 18:16:13 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=18883#comment-1026712 EEEwww. And I’m sure you didn’t want to know!

Good point about distractions during lecture/proffie time versus peer presentations and interactions. I agree entirely.

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By: thefrogprincess http://www.historiann.com/2012/05/31/class-notes-2/comment-page-1/#comment-1026708 Fri, 01 Jun 2012 18:14:24 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=18883#comment-1026708 I’m with truffula: when I had my seminar students do research presentations, I tightened the reins: I told them not to eat (which I usually allow), and I strongly reiterated the “come to class on time” and “don’t leave in the middle of a presentation” spiel. There were a few issues, but I wanted to make clear that, although I’m personally not bothered by eating, it can be seen as distracting to others, especially those who don’t usually present.

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By: truffula http://www.historiann.com/2012/05/31/class-notes-2/comment-page-1/#comment-1026703 Fri, 01 Jun 2012 17:58:34 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=18883#comment-1026703 I am less tolerant of student misuse of devices when they are listening to their peers present material than when they are listening to me. It’s a respect issue, of course.

I once noticed a couple sitting close together and watching something on a laptop while another student was giving a presentation so I got up, walked over, and sat down next to the couple. The student who owned the computer slammed down the lid and the other one jumped up and left the room. I have no idea what they were watching.

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By: Wini http://www.historiann.com/2012/05/31/class-notes-2/comment-page-1/#comment-1026684 Fri, 01 Jun 2012 17:20:32 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=18883#comment-1026684 The only truly negative experience I have had with laptops was in my first graduate seminar. My only poilcy for my larger classes is “don’t distract.” In that grad class and all of my small classes, we decide together as a class what the basic policy will be. The undergraduates always want little laptop presence, but the graduate students looked at my like an alien when I started this same conversation. And the it turned into a major problem.

I’ve decided to ban them in my next graduate seminar, as another experiment, but I will allow ereaders for PDFs, since I know at least 25% of the enrolled students have them. (Not for books because you can’t keep track of pages.)

However, I came to a similar conclusion to some of the commentators above. Part of the problem was that the masters students were still learning how to do graduate work and graduate seminars. Our PhD students knew what to do, and would only flip open their screens to reference readings. I imagine their experiences as TAs also helped. But, sitting still to read hundreds of pages and the sitting still to think through the ideas for three hours is also a learned skill. Our minds do wander in seminar, and they need tomwrestle them back, not give in to facebook. (Actually i think the biggest problem was someone doing coursework for another class.) I’m pretty familiar with the technology out there, and using a good PDF reading program on a screen is hard, it is just not the same. They will be required to bring readings to class, and required to take notes by hand. We’ll see.

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By: Historiann http://www.historiann.com/2012/05/31/class-notes-2/comment-page-1/#comment-1026625 Fri, 01 Jun 2012 15:15:51 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=18883#comment-1026625 Great discussion, friends. It sounds like most of us want to permit students to use technology as they see fit, while also trying to find ways to teach them how to *do college,* as well as learn something about our disciplines in our classes.

I liked this comment from Nikki: “As another aside–philosophically I am opposed to attendance policies, policing the classroom for cellphone use, etc. They are adults. But oddly, my teaching evals radically improved when I took a hard-line on these behaviors. My classes are capped at 25, so it is much easier for me to see what is going on and also, I think, for the one or two students who are texting/sleeping/ face booking to really disrupt the class.”

I have noticed the same thing, and would like to suggest that it makes sense. Most students want to do the right thing most of the time, and they get irritated if they believe that someone in class is getting away with something. I’ve also noticed that students appreciate it when the disruptors/slackers are called out on their behavior. I think it all goes back to the idea that we get the students we deserve, for the most part. If you have high standards, rational class rules and grading systems, and you enforce them fairly, you’ll get the students who see the value in what you do.

(IOW, I have a few times made the mistake of NOT getting up in students’ grills, and those classes ended up getting even more annoying over time. It’s like going easy on them on the first assignment: if you don’t kick their asses then, they have little incentive for improvement.)

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By: Leslie http://www.historiann.com/2012/05/31/class-notes-2/comment-page-1/#comment-1026578 Fri, 01 Jun 2012 14:06:16 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=18883#comment-1026578 I teach tutorials (in music composition) and small seminars. We have a very small program, so I know most of the students very well. I don’t ban laptops and my students are as a whole very courteous about phone use (in general, if a phone goes off, I get a quick apology as it is shut down completely).

In the tutorials, we talk often about making technology, as a tool, work most effectively. There are times when the use of a notation program or other software creates an unnecessary bar to the free-flowing of ideas. At other times, it’s an excellent way of quickly trying out complex ideas.

As you can see, I’m in a much different teaching environment than many of you–discussions like this (or when I talk to a colleague who teaches a 500 student survey) make me realize just how specialized it is.

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By: polisciprof http://www.historiann.com/2012/05/31/class-notes-2/comment-page-1/#comment-1026570 Fri, 01 Jun 2012 13:56:33 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=18883#comment-1026570 @Indyanna. Thanks for your response about “Learning Management System.” My husband and I are both employees of a state franchise location east of you. It made our day.

@Jack. Last year a student who I have had in several classes reported that the guys in front of her were watching porn on their laptops during lecture. I asked, “Does that bother you?” She replied, “Not really. I just wanted to let you know.” I said, “Well, if it does, let me know. Otherwise, I’ll just let them hang themselves on the next exam.” They did.

I also use the “disrespecting the class” line in discussing behavior with students who have the volume up on the ear buds, are habitually tardy, etc. That seems to work.

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By: Perpetua http://www.historiann.com/2012/05/31/class-notes-2/comment-page-1/#comment-1026550 Fri, 01 Jun 2012 13:14:21 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=18883#comment-1026550 I just wanted to add that one of the reasons why I’ve never outright banned laptops is because I used to get many official notes from the learning center (or whatever it’s called at various universities) for students who required note-takers or to take notes on laptops for various disabilities. For note takers, having a laptop is much easier. In any event, I felt reluctant about banning something for which there is occasionally a legitimate need. Now that I’m at a different university, I almost never get these kinds of notes – I think it’s the difference between a university that draws from a non-traditional, blue collar, rural student pool and one from a middle class/ upper middle class suburban one.

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By: Matt_L http://www.historiann.com/2012/05/31/class-notes-2/comment-page-1/#comment-1026518 Fri, 01 Jun 2012 12:08:22 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=18883#comment-1026518 I like what the frogprincess has said about the problem of education as entertainment, or “why isn’t your class more interesting than the internet?”

Lets be honest, there are parts of learning that are exciting, like the first week in the archives and getting new boxes of stuff you’ve never seen before. There are other parts that are, well, work, like revising that manuscript for the fourth time, or fixing citations. Class is going to be similar. I remember studying German and realizing that success in the class relied on a lot of fumbling through pair dialogues in class and memorizing flash cards full of vocab on the bus. Pretty boring stuff, but I did it and still have a decent command of the language.

The teacher’s job is to help students master the material. Some of that will be fun and exciting, while some of it is a grind. Sorry to say, but this work requires a certain ‘right mindfulness’ that can only be cultivated by unplugging for a little bit.

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