Friday, July 7, 2017

Summer School 1: Lincoln or Hippocrates?

(from June 2017)
A few months ago  I was talking to student volunteers before serving one of our Thursday dinners at Veterans Village.  There was a mix of students from all four of my classes there, including a few from my web classes.

 I asked one of the students to remind me which of my web classes he was in -- was it Western Civilization 1? no? was it American History 2?

He frowned a little and shook his head. He wasn't sure.

I shook my head.

Not good. Both classes had already completed three units of work and taken a proctored exam.

He should kinda know which century/centuries he's been in for the last few weeks.

 I prodded a little.  "Did you write an essay on Lincoln or did you write one on Hippocrates?"

He shook his head.

"Do you remember writing the essay on sharecropping? or maybe did you compare women's roles in Athens and Sparta?"

He shook his head.

Whatever had happened in my online class, it apparently didn't stick.

 I have never thought I'm the best at online teaching - I refuse to create/ put up  videos, because that's just ugh not for me ever, just no.  My main strength has been creativity in trying to create ever-more-flexible classes,  but no matter what I do it seems that most of my interaction with online students is about out missed work, missed exams, missed deadlines.  The rest of the students mainly stay quiet.  Maybe they're happy to be left alone. I don't know, but I do know that I serve my non-web students a warmer dish of a class.

A few days after that "Lincoln or Hippocrates" conversation I opened an email asking me about my ideal summer school schedule.  Over the past few summers I have only taught online classes  because it's nice to sleep in and also I am not used to seeing the same students every day for over an hour and the whole thing is very intense.

A person has to be READY to face whatever the express summer school session will brings.

I was ready.