Tidbits, Resources, and Discussion for ELI Faculty

Monday, June 23, 2008

And now for something completely different...

If I may step away from ELI and distance learning issues for a moment, I'd love to hear your thoughts and advice on something else.

Next spring, I'll be teaching a graduate course for UVa (EDLF 762, Sociology of Education). It'll be really fun to teach a grad course for the first time, to teach for my undergraduate alma mater, and to spend some time working with the areas of the literature I used in my dissertation but don't get to engage much when teaching at the freshman/sophomore level here at NOVA.

So here's my question: what were the key characteristics of the best graduate courses you took? I certainly have my own ideas about what worked, and what didn't, in my own graduate studies, but I'm curious about what suggestions you all might have to help me as I craft my syllabus.

5 comments:

Miriam said...

I was assuming the class you will be teaching is OL, but I realize that it may not be. My favorite component of all graduate level courses is the discussion. In class discussion if you are on campus, and threaded discussions when OL. Discussion at the graduate level is much more fulfilling at this level, and I always learn something new.

I would strongly discourage you from using anything resembling a glossary assignment or something that requires compiling basic vocabulary terms. In my opinion, this is not representative of graduate level work.

Congratulations on the new class.

Jennifer Lerner said...

Thanks for the thoughts, Miriam! And you are right, I should have said it outright--it's a f2f class, although I have the option of doing it as a hybrid; haven't decided on that part yet...

Don Gregory said...

All of my grad courses emphasized original thinking on the part of the student. The best ones (i.e. the seminars) were "taught" by the students after the first week or two, with the professor serving primarily as facilitator and equal contributor to the seminar. Whatever content needed to be learned was, by and large, expected to be read and understood outside of class-- although there was always opportunity for questions and an occasional mini-lecture by the professor. The expression "original contribution to the research" was used a good deal in the syllabi of my grad courses.

Aggie said...

I'm with Don. The best grad courses I have had were ones in which the students made the presentations and led the discussions.

Nancy said...

Last summer I took the Virginia Tech class about online teaching and loved it. The best part for me was getting little or no feedback from the professors teaching the course and vague directions. After trying to guess what was wanted in several assignments, I finally gave up thinking about what they wanted and began thinking about what I wanted to learn and what would be helpful to me. I was stunned by how much more powerful the learning experience was when I ended up being responsible for choosing what to learn.

We also had to post multiple reflections about readings, assignments, etc., all in first person. I found that required reflection was a very valuable teaching/learning tool.