Keep the Semester Moving Forward

10 Feb 2010

I took seriously Jim O’Donnell’s call to keep the semester moving forward despite the snow and ice, and I’d like to share a success story that has taken even me by surprise.  My Media and Politics seminar meets on Tuesday mornings.  This Tuesday, we held class in real time using a blog set up for us by CNDLS. I sent an email to the class informing them of the plan and setting expectations, and posted PowerPoint slides relating to the class on Blackboard in advance. I prepared a rather lengthy post that introduced the topic and provided two sets of questions to get the discussion going.  The amount of engagement, the high quality of discussion, and the degree of interactivity that we achieved online was astonishing.  There is now a record of the class for those who were unable to take part. I also will be able to draw upon this material throughout the semester.  It helps that this particular class of mostly CCT and a few GOVT grad students is especially good, but I did not anticipate that the process would go so smoothly or be so productive.

While this experiment was far from earth-shattering, I think is a strategy that can be easily adopted by other faculty who may be happily surprised at the results.