Care to Share?

So, we are at mid-term (the crowd cheers!). I was wondering if anyone out there is facing some challenges in their classes (we all have them) and if anyone would care to share them? The rest of the semester in the CFE is *loaded* with Writing, Library, Service Learning, and FYS events and there is no T/Th meeting hour that is not accounted for in some way. So, could we have a teaching discussion here? Is anyone facing an issue or problem that they want to discuss with colleagues? Please feel free to post a concern or issue. Let’s see if we can get a discussion going virtually even if we’re not able to do so in person.

I’ll go first:

I am currently puzzling over how to evaluate my students in an ever-increasing learner-centered classroom. I’m not throwing tons of information at them through lectures. Instead, as I have posted here earlier this semester, I am using case studies to make them think through problems that artists/architects faced during the middle ages and come up with solutions (by the way, every time we have done this, they have come up with solutions very similar to the time period). Now that we are at mid-term, I want to evaluate them not on just IF they learned the facts (I can tell, actually, from our discussions in class, that they have), but on how much they have developed in critical thinking and creative problem solving. But I find myself at a loss on how to do that. I don’t think an exam will do it as they will just cram and memorize for it.

Additionally, these case studies take longer to get through the material. I don’t have the conflict over content that I used to have: I am more and more convinced that I will help my students much more if they emerge from my class better writers, speakers, and thinkers, than if they see five or six more medieval churches. But I want to make sure they are becoming better writers, speakers, and thinkers. And I want to know that *they* know that. Exams just won’t cut it. The stack of papers that are waiting to be graded will help me assess the writing part. They’ve had to give speeches in my class — every student has spoken in class and more of the quiet ones are piping up because of it. Does anyone have any thoughts out there?

Happy Spring Break. At least the snow is melting away……..

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