So, I totally wrote this on Thursday night and was completely sure that I posted it. Apparently not. Anyway, better late than never, right?
Today was the first day of class. And for the first time in many, many years, I’m not teaching a brand new class!1 Hooray for being able to use the same syllabus and some of the same slide decks again! And to be able to implement some of the what-I-can-improve-for-next-time ideas I always have after teaching a class for the first time!
The class I’m teaching is probably my favourite of all the classes I’ve taught. It’s all active learning, where the students learn by engaging in formal debates and giving interactive seminar presentations. And this year I’m trying something new – instead of a writing a paper, students are going to be creating (or substantially revising) a Wikipedia page. It’s an idea I got from hearing Brian Lamb talk at a teaching & learning conference about this guy’s assignment. Rather than having students write a paper that will only ever be read by one person2 and then never be heard from again3, why not have them contribute quality information to a public project that will be read by thousands of people?? And learning about working in wikis. And learning about the strengths and limitations of online resources like Wikipedia. And working collaboratively with colleagues (and total strangers) through an ongoing editing and revision process, learning from feedback and being challenged to support their points with evidence4. I figured the students would either think this assignment is awesome or think it’s crazy and, despite the fact that only one person in a class of 40 has ever edited a wiki before, they seem to think it’s awesome5.
And, of course, the question you really all came here to read about: what did I wear on the first day of class? I chose this fabulous ensemble:
That’s my current favourite skirt. I bought it at a thrift store6 and I get compliments every time I wear it. And it is the skirt I wore to the job interview for my current day job, so that counts for something. And the boots, of course. Gotta have the boots.
In addition to what you see in the above photo, I also had with me my new sweater, which is black and awesome and kind of cape-like, which pretty much makes me Batman. But I didn’t wear the sweater to teach, because I prefer to teach as my alter ego, Beth Wayne Snow.
- which just so happens to be #37 on my 101 list! [↩]
- i.e., me [↩]
- the papers, not the students [↩]
- I mean, I challenge students to do this, but it’s usually feedback on a paper they hand in, and then there’s not an opportunity for them to respond and thus learn from that feedback. [↩]
- either that or they are just sucking up. But they did seem genuinely excited about it, so I’m going to say it’s the former [↩]
- of course [↩]