And Class of 2016: we're off

Today is Day 1 of semester, 112 days until the final exam goes live. Tomorrow, the first SC200 class. This year, 357 students…

Picture1I’ve now got the syllabus and schedule sorted out. Everything flows from the syllabus, in particular the grading algorithm and everything that goes with that. I’ve made changes in a couple of areas to try to encourage better time management and reach zero plagiarism. The changes come from discussion with other Gen Ed STEM colleagues. A group of us have been meeting about once a month since last fall (organised by the ever-enthusiastic Julia Kregnow — with me cheering her along). I’ve found it really good therapy, as well as an super time-efficient way to disseminate best practice among experienced colleagues. I am not sure why these self-help/self-improvement groups are so rare. Our discussions have impacted almost everything I plan to do this year. Time will tell whether those changes generate learning gains and greater peace for me, but if I get even one less case of plagiarism this year, I’ll be ahead time-wise. And our discussion have made me think a lot more about how students learn, how teachers teach, and the responsibilities of a course like this. I hope to find time to blog on these issues over the coming weeks. For now, time to prepare the first class of the year — and get the student blog working (changes yet again in the underlying software – just when we finally got a fix for last years changes. Sigh).

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