I guess I tend to be fairly pessimistic. I want to be SURE that I know what I know. After all these years in libraries doing research, thinking about how to prove, or at least substantially validate a thesis for a paper, article, dissertation, etc., I want to be sure I know that what I’m doing or saying is working. So with teaching and learning.
Like many of you, I’ve read many of the studies of how higher education is failing (like _Academically Adrift_), and it has made me wonder about my courses. Are my students working hard enough? But above all, are they **learning** anything? I am especially concerned about this last since I have started moving to more problem-based learning instead of lecturing.
Well, this does not happen too often but I received a Facebook message this morning from a student who is studying in Europe this semester:
“So I just got back from a trip to Italy, and we visited some of the most amazing art galleries (like the Uffizi in Florence!) and saw Rome! The entire time I was fascinated and kept thinking back to what we learned in your Roman Art and Architecture class! 🙂
I think my Italian friends though I was crazy the way I was staring at every statue thinking oh look, imitating the greek style, oh now they are moving onto realism with age lines… look they used a drill for those curls!”
She was in the Roman Art class the first year I revamped it for problem-based inquiry.
So yes. She learned.