1. This summer, I decided to revise one course completely: English 56B British Literature 1800-Present. I’ve been writing about it here and over on the FairMatter blog. When we began the semester, I was really excited about these new types
    of problem-based research projects. But because of the room layout, we ended up in a physical dynamic that will plague us all semester. This is the *only* course that’s not working in terms of class dynamics. They look bored and seem terrified to talk. This wasn’t happening in my other two f2f courses. What’s going on? They’re English majors! So, I tried something yesterday that was surprising.
  2. triproftri
    the brit lit students are regularly coming into class (1/2 at least) w/o rdg novels (these r english majors). today, I asked them to …
    Thu, Oct 04 2012 17:15:19
  3. triproftri
    prove *my* thesis (that Rochester in Jane Eyre is the being who needs to be civilized). now, they’re giving pecha kucha style demos of 20pts
    Thu, Oct 04 2012 17:15:52
  4. After coming up with this idea based on Pecha Kucha presentations, I asked the students to entertain *me* because I was no longer interested in lecturing to them.
  5. triproftri
    I’ve abdicated the front of the rm partly in frustration & partly to see what it is they need in terms of learning styles
    Thu, Oct 04 2012 17:16:16
  6. I gave them some opening ideas about empire, British Imperialism, and print culture (Pear’s Soap ad & historicizing race).
  7. triproftri
    the underlying idea is that representations of empire in Jane Eyre are complex
    Thu, Oct 04 2012 17:16:39
  8. triproftri
    also, i’m abt to change the rules as we go along: reduction in present time by 20 secs for each grp; can’t repeat what other grps say
    Thu, Oct 04 2012 17:23:10
  9. Actually, I reduced the time by 1 minute for each group.
  10. triproftri
    let’s see if they rebel or rise to the challenges. p.s. no grades on these. they’ll write a collaborative blog post later
    Thu, Oct 04 2012 17:23:27
  11. triproftri
    ok, just announced new rules; they oooohhhed & aahhed & are no frantic abt mtg the requirements. still have to give 20 pts abt the query tho
    Thu, Oct 04 2012 17:25:58
  12. triproftri
    nxt grp up. nervous. using the white board. rest of class listening intently to see if they need to adjust their pts.
    Thu, Oct 04 2012 17:29:15
  13. triproftri
    current grp: when speaker falters/stutters, other grp members jump in, write on board, take over convo. replicating my lecture strategies
    Thu, Oct 04 2012 17:30:26
  14. Let me add that these groups have been collaborating for the last 6 weeks on their 19th-century material culture project — where they have a serial or magazine or literary annual from my personal collection (yes, an original) and “screw around” to see what they’d like to research. They’ve built relationships already.
  15. triproftri
    they’re speaking based on conversations in their grp discussion; this is why the entire grp can participate – really collaborated
    Thu, Oct 04 2012 17:31:21
  16. triproftri
    next grp taking a different pov but also they ask each other for help; when 1 stumbles, asks someone to jump in
    Thu, Oct 04 2012 17:34:33
  17. triproftri
    nxt grp moves to 3mins 40sec: Jane = masculinity & white man’s burden as missionary even w/in England
    Thu, Oct 04 2012 17:35:46
  18. triproftri
    again, the grp members help each other, from holding up laptop w/notes to another jumping in when 1 ends prematurely
    Thu, Oct 04 2012 17:36:37
  19. triproftri
    ..and htis is a student I’ve never heard from during general discussion. interesting dynamics coming out
    Thu, Oct 04 2012 17:37:01
  20. triproftri
    I’m also wondering how my typing is affecting them. does it signal my attention to them? will tell them that I’m tweeting at the end
    Thu, Oct 04 2012 17:37:50
  21. triproftri
    now this grp is referencing what others wrote on board & building on that
    Thu, Oct 04 2012 17:38:14
  22. triproftri
    again, leader stumbles and another member jumps in to help. again, this is student that I’ve not heard from during general discussion
    Thu, Oct 04 2012 17:38:43
  23. triproftri
    last grp begins w/1:40 to prove question of Rochester becoming civilized. compares jane to bertha
    Thu, Oct 04 2012 17:40:06
  24. triproftri
    another grp member gets into it to define civilization….alas, time’s up
    Thu, Oct 04 2012 17:40:42
  25. triproftri
    now, gave them terms for collaborative blog post — shd take only an hr to produce. due on monday; left parameters open (may regret?)
    Thu, Oct 04 2012 18:18:03
  26. triproftri
    1 grp remarked that if they cd do the presentation in under 20mins prep time, they cd certainly write a collaborative blog post in an hr
    Thu, Oct 04 2012 18:18:37
  27. triproftri
    I’ll take that. goals intended for today: remove me from front of room; burden students w/front of rm; allow them to show off; game it up
    Thu, Oct 04 2012 18:19:29
  28. triproftri
    get them to demo the collaborative skills that they’ve been working on w/their major 19thC print culture project (due next Thurs)
    Thu, Oct 04 2012 18:19:52
  29. triproftri
    A blog post is brewing on this; I’ll storify it tomorrow. For now, off to a culinary adventure with cambodian food.
    Thu, Oct 04 2012 18:20:26
  30. Though we didn’t get to chat about Jane Eyre in as much detail as I would have liked, I saw that some of the students (out of 30) have absorbed the style of lecturing that I’ve been using: writing on the board to keep track of key ideas, avoiding summary, making direct reference to the text, constructing complex arguments with close reading. I tried to stress in my preamble to the meeting and gamifying the class that I *do* notice when they don’t read. I reminded them that the readings, discussions, narrative identifications are all working us towards playing/talking about Diablo III at the conclusion of the semester. They may think I’m a jerk for flipping our room around yesterday and expressing my discontent. But this class is a tough one. I’ve never had such a conundrum in a course for our majors. Without resorting to donuts in every class, this is what I came up with. Now, I’ll let them know that I’ve blogged about them. They didn’t think much about the tweeting!