Monday, 12 October 2009

Back to Basics?

Technology is not always the best solution to a problem.

One issue that took two weeks to sort out was the assignment of students into groups in the FREDA module. I put students into groups, made one of each group a coordinator, and put their emails on WebCT with the 'suggestion' that they all should look up which group they were in, find out who their coordinator is, and email that person so that a group meeting could be set up.

For some reason, some students simply didn't do it. I have no idea why. Maybe this is too strange and unusual given the other tasks they have to perform at university? It was beginning to interfere with my running of the seminar, as I expected them to discuss the readings in the groups, and I didn't want to assign further readings until that had all been sorted.

Now in today's lecture I cut through this Gordian knot. I finished 10 minutes early, and sent all the TELLING students away (even though some were confused enough and stayed on asking what groups they were in...), and called out the groups, asking them to come to the front of the lecture theatre. And finally, the groups would meet... A few students were absent, so I rearranged/merged two other groups on the spot, but most groups now managed to get themselves set up.

What email and WebCT did not manage in 2 weeks was achieved in 5 minutes after the lecture... Now I hope that it'll all be a lot easier when the groups get reshuffled after reading week!

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