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.
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 …
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.
they’re speaking based on conversations in their grp discussion; this is why the entire grp can participate – really collaborated
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!