I participated in a #digped Twitter chat today (run by Hybrid Pedagogy), about class policies on use of electronic devices during class. As always, this chat was very helpful for pushing me to be honest with myself, my motivations, and my desires, as well as to consider new alternatives.
I don’t have a policy against the use of electronic devices in class. I feel it would be hypocritical of me to do so because I rely so heavily on them myself during meetings and conferences–I take all notes electronically, and I frequently engage in Tweeting during conferences to promote interesting ideas or facts I’m learning and let others know what’s happening at that session in case they couldn’t make it. But I do get annoyed, and mostly sad, when I spend SO MUCH TIME preparing for courses (those of you who are teachers know how much time that is) and then feel like all that work is going to very little if many students aren’t paying attention.
The #digped Tweet chat helped remind me that there are different ways of paying attention, and even when you think someone is not engaged, they may very well be engaged in a way that you don’t recognize as such. Plus, people need to be human beings, after all, and have breaks where they just zone out for a little bit and then come back. And I need to get over it when I think there is too much non-engagement (because what I think is non-engagement may not actually be such).
This is a lesson I have to keep reminding myself.
But on another note; there was a good deal of discussion about having the class guidelines be set collaboratively, with the students. I have 150 students in my Introduction to Philosophy course. I thought such a thing would be impossible. But in a separate discussion on Twitter yesterday, some colleagues suggested breaking students up into groups and having the groups write on a collaborative doc like in Google docs.
I already had a collaborative doc on suggestions for respectful discussions, so I turned that one into a document about other guidelines for the class too.
Here is what I have so far. It’s not currently open to editing, but just to commenting; next week it will be open to editing, but please just let the students in class edit, okay? :)
Click here for the doc; there is an embedded version below if you just want to look at it on this blog post.
I’d love to hear your comments on:
1. Are these good questions to ask? Are the questions phrased well?
2. What do I do with the answers? I was going to compile them all into a list of suggested guidelines, but not everyone will agree with all of them. Do I just have a vote on the whole list? Having 150 students makes this challenging…