Planning next semester

So I finally got a tentative schedule for next semester, two sections of Calculus I for Life Science, and one section of Precalculus.

The idea of teaching pre-cal makes me a little nervous.  I’ve only taught it once before.  The teaching of it went fine, but the class comes with a TA.  Last time, I was totally unprepared for how much work was required to supervise a TA.

But I am glad about the Cal I for Life Science.  It is the perfect class for my spring experiment.

I’m going to have the students create public blogs.

Writing about math.  It’s going to meet with some student resistance initially, I know that.  I’m considering making it an opt-in thing: at the beginning of the semester, students get to choose whether or not they want to participate.  If they do, then a different grading scheme will apply to them.  To encourage buy-in, I’d let students know that they could move to the traditional grading scheme at any point in the semester if they choose to.  (But not the reverse– you can’t start your blog mid-April and have it count.)

At first I was thinking about making a rubric and having certain types of posts worth certain amounts of points, but on reflection, that’s just about the opposite of what I want to go for.  So now I’m thinking grading it more as a portfolio.  I’ve been looking at some resources on portfolio grading.  Most of them are intended for English Composition courses, which is helpful, but I’d be grateful for any pointers to other resources, particularly content-focused ones.

I’ll post more about it as I continue to process my ideas.  For now, I have to get back to grading, so I can finish this semester up.  (Is it terrible that I’d much rather plan than grade?)

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2 thoughts on “Planning next semester

  1. Christopher says:

    You know what I don’t see in this post that is going to be essential to getting students to buy in? I don’t see why you want them to create public blogs (or blogs at all). Perhaps you have articulated this clearly in your own mind. And perhaps you have not. Your own blog would be a lovely place to work out the kinks in that sales pitch.

    • I absolutely agree. I had actually started to add that to the post, but then I’ve had it sitting in draft mode for several days, and I thought it best to get it out there. I wouldn’t say it’s completely clearly articulated in my mind yet– it’s more like it’s in the process of crystallizing. I definitely plan on using the blog for facilitating the crystallization process.

      But first I need to get through some of the work I need to do to finish up this semester.

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