For the end of the Fall semester, I challenged six Brittain Fellows to give me a reflection on the difficulties and the triumphs experienced in their courses. What follows is a series of meditations on a wide variety of pedagogical subjects: from presentations of student projects to theories of student feedback, collaboration, time management, and undergraduate mentoring. We hope that you enjoy the first of what we envision will be many editions of semester wrap-ups. Happy holidays from the Writing and Communication program!
- [show_avatar firstname.lastname@example.org align=right avatar_size=60]“Science and Pseudoscience” Bob Blaskiewicz demonstrates the power of visiting actual campus laboratories when discussing the difference between real experimental science and the pseudosciences of ghost hunting, astrology, and intelligent design. A series of student projects from Blaskiewicz’s class provide insight into a powerful course combining scientific and humanistic inquiry.
- [show_avatar email@example.com align=right avatar_size=60]“Thinking About Feedback” Kathryn Crowther considers her methods of providing feedback to students during the semester, covering strategies like the trackback feature on Microsoft Word, face-to-face conferences with students, and recording podcasts. Crowther’s pedagogy combines multimodal responses that improve communication between herself and her students.
- [show_avatar firstname.lastname@example.org align=right avatar_size=60]“Collaboration in the Classroom” Leeann Hunter examines her challenges grading collaborative projects and develops an innovative new strategy to both recognize individual participation and encourage group cohesion. If, she argues, we want students to learn that they can do more together than individually, why not reflect that value in our grading?
- [show_avatar email@example.com align=right avatar_size=60]“Looking Backward…A Little” Diane Jakacki manages time between research, digital research projects, and her pedagogical expectations as a first-year Brittain Fellow. She emphasizes, particularly, how important task management software like Things and note-taking software like Evernote are for keeping one’s sanity as a postdoctoral fellow.
- [show_avatar firstname.lastname@example.org align=right avatar_size=60]“Poetry, Art, and Science in the Age of Wonder” Crystal Lake introduces the online collections completed by students in her course covering science and poetry during the Romantic period. Lake’s inventive course gives students the ability to use digital media while making useful contributions to professional academic research.
- [show_avatar email@example.com align=right avatar_size=60]“Bridges over Jordan” Paulette Richards recounts her Fall 2010 experiences helping students prepare to interview for the Rhodes Scholarship. What, she asks, happens to new generations of African-American students who haven’t grown up in the shadow of Jim Crow but who nevertheless must apply for scholarships whose namesakes reference the legacy of African colonialism and racial segregation?