While working on my inquiry project, I think I remembered some of the issues in completing assignments that I had forgotten.
While in my class I asked a friend to take pictures of making the fondant flowers and leaves, however I did not check them as she was clicking away. My mistake. After getting home I realized that the pictures didn’t work out and I needed them for my presentation. So last night at 10 pm there I was, colouring fondant in yellow and green and rolling out mini balls to make fondant roses and daisies and leaves. This was made harder by my weekend of yard work that made my arms equivalent to over boiled spaghetti. Needless to say I’m tired this morning and my arms ache, but I have some good shots.
I think the project also reminded me of the anxiety that students feel while in a class with assignments and an instructor that will grade them. Not that I have felt the class was “over my head” in any way, nor have I felt that there was too much to do, I have just had the underlying anxiety in my chest that I always have when taking a course that has a consequence. (i.e., taking a course on fondant where no one was grading me – no problem!)
On the other side of the coin, instead of giving up, I worked on my project last night until it was done and done well. I didn’t throw in the towel because it was inconvenient or hard.
In closing, I guess the work on the inquiry assignment has made me a better teacher because it has reminded me of some of the real issues that our students face every day. It will ensure that I am more empathetic in some cases – however my expectations for determination, perseverance and quality work will always remain.
I am re-developing my Principle of Leadership course this summer which is a 3rd year course in the Construction Management Degree program in Civil Engineering Technology. One of the main distinctions that students need to make during this course is the difference between managing/being a boss and being a leader. There are many different perspectives as to what this person is and it is an individual thing. This course would be my most pragmatic course offering. With few exceptions, there is really no right or wrong.
I could see that using a Webquest would be helpful in their research and discovery of what being a leader is for them. By providing some links as below:
12 Habits of Exceptional Leaders
What is Leadership?
Concepts of Leadership
Some of the other information that I would need to provide for the Webquest would be pictures, videos and potentially more web links to “Self Help” type leadership books. As examples, Primal Leadership by Daniel Goleman, Drive by Daniel Pink,, 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Steven Covey and Strengths Based Leadership by Tom Rath and Barry Conchie. I also like to use TED Talks like Roselinde Torres’ What it takes to be a great leader.
But honestly I don’t ant to provide too much because in a leadership course you need students to learn how to take control, make decisions, take responsibility and to become a leader. You can’t provide everything, they need to learn how to determine the issue and solve that issue to be a good leader. Further leaders need to be able to plan, organize and communicate to their staff so those are also important aspects of the outcomes from this course that the leader must accomplish.
Due to this assignment, I would also add a Webquest by another instructor on Leadership as found here.
I chose the article, The benefits of Flipping your Classroom because I want to use this concept in my leadership class but it wasn’t working the way I was doing it. I realize now that a part of the issue is that I didn’t take it far enough. I taught the class for the first time last year and I kept it in the former instructors format because I was new to the college and I wanted to make sure I covered everything required the first go around. In the end I realized that the last instructor didn’t cover leadership but basic supervision and there were gaps in the learning. So I am now in a refresh process.
Between the article and Salman Khan’s, Let’s Use Video to Reinvent Education, I really like the ideas presented and the concepts. I’m not sure that I will have time to record all of the lectures this year but that may work in the future, I’m more considering shorter lectures (30 to 45 minutes) and then the remaining hour work with the students to understand the concepts, have guest speakers and more real life examples. Last year many students asked me if the concepts I was explaining really worked in the real world. I said that they did because I had used them. I have since met others who have as well so bringing them in to the classroom would assist in driving the point home.
I also like the idea of changing how I grade the course. Up until now it has been done as a multiple choice exam. But I always wondered, how do leadership skills come out in multiple choice exams? Well they don’t. It just gives a grade. Instead I think I will look for something more leadership related… possibly formal presentations or a strategic plan.
Does anyone have any other ideas of what I could use for assessments in this area?
The article, The Brutal Authenticity Of BYOD, (bring your own device) is valuable in my opinion because we have been wrestling with this concept for a bit in Civil Engineering. Initially, we purchased laptops for all students so that they would all learn from the same platform. This didn’t work out exactly the way that was planned. RRC School Administration thought that this would be great and the students would purchase the laptops when leaving for $300 and all would be good. However what occurred was many students didn’t want 3 year old laptops OR they were told that they couldn’t be guaranteed their laptop so then they wouldn’t pay $300. Civil Engineering had planned to give the students the laptops on graduation cheaply (can’t remember amount) but the school administration would not permit that as it was not the same as the policy for the rest of the school. Now RRC Civil Engineering is home to many extra laptops which likely will never be used. We have since moved to a hybrid model where students can either bring their own or use a school laptop. What is everyone else’s thoughts on bringing in your own technology in the classroom?
I personally feel that it works better as students can work with whatever hardware/software they want. Civil Engineering is now only required to provide laptops for students who require them. I believe that this alleviates the disparity for those who cannot afford them and for those who do not have the opportunity to purchase one. What is challenging for me is to be able to use multiple forms of the same software and have them all available to all of the students. Has anyone found a better way to do this? I don’t have access to all forms of technology and software, nor do I have the time to LEARN all of them.
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