One of their last assignments was to do a reflection journal of how they felt the class went and what they got out of it. Being mass communication majors doing the assignment via a video instead of written gave them a chance to explore a mutimedia platofrm as well as give more feedback than they would if they had had to write it out. Many courses ask for feedback and evaluations at the end but rarely will students put real effort into them, and once completed they just sit on a shelf somewhere. I wanted the students to feel like their reflections mattered and that I truly wanted to know their honest opinions. There is something to be said for the human connection of looking at someone that makes the experience much more personal and powerful.
The responses were better than I could have ever expected. Their thoughts were raw, unvarnished and completely from the heart. Some might not expect freshmen to get so deep or be able to critically reflect in this way but yet again these students surprised me in the best way. I am completely humbled by their words and honored that I got to be their instructor. So many feels! I may or may not have ugly-cried in my office watching their responses.
With 40 students there is a lot of video footage but in an effort to keeping the video manageable, we have condensed the footage to this 5 minute reel. Bonus one of the students in the class did the editing. (I told you they were a talented bunch!)
Check it out!
The results from the pre & post tests came back and they were great!
Here are the questions that were asked
And each class’s pre and post test scores
And both classes exceeded the average for all sections of Academic Foundations!
Last Day of Class!
The semester has come to an end. Its time for our last class. I think the students may even be more upset about that than I am. For class today we finished watching everyone’s one second every day videos. I also handed back their expectations letters (an earlier assignment) and there were so many feels! As each student came up to show their video I also had the class write up “warm fuzzies” for student presenting. These are just little notes about that student; something nice about them, a quality you admire, a compliment, or what you learned from them over the semester. This group bonded in the first weeks and they have become a great support network for each other over the semester. One of the videos we watched this semester talked about “Lollipop Moments” and telling people when they have made an impact on our lives. These warm fuzzies are just that. I wanted each student to have a memento they can hold on to when they are feeling like they don’t matter (a common occurrence in this generation it seems).
We also went around the room and everyone got to share their last thoughts on how the class went, what they learned, and what they are looking forward to in the spring semester. And of course I gave them my farewell wishes. (Yes there were tears, don’t judge). We even had a parent join us, because they had heard so much about our class over the semester and they wanted to come see what it was all about. We had several visitors come to class with students this semester but I had never had a parent. And boy did it feel good. When we asked if she wanted to stay for the class she was at first hesitant, but when the other students said they wanted her to stay I think she really understood how great this group of students is. Its one thing for the people experiencing something to tell you they enjoy it and see it as valuable, but it is entirely another when they tell their friends and want to share their experiences with them because they found it so valuable. Have I mentioned how great these kids are? 🙂
This week the students also had to complete end of semester evaluations on both the class and me as their professor. The University requires this of all classes, and aggregates the data for classes and professors and makes it available to us the following semester. I won’t post them here but if you are interested in seeing the anonymous survey data I can share that, and I will be including it in my case study submission for the First Year Experience Center.
In addition to the school sponsored survey I asked each student to shoot a selfie video and answer a few wrap up questions on what they thought of the class and how the semester went. I wanted these videos to easy for the student to create and encouraging them to be honest in their evaluation and feedback. I can’t do better if I don’t know what resonated with the students, and what they felt wasn’t helpful. And bonus that we can cut these videos together into a promo video for incoming students to promote the class next year (for any student who is okay with their work being used).
I included a series of prompt questions to get them thinking but they were free to respond how they felt:
- At the beginning of this semester, what did you expect to learn from this class?
- Did it require more or less effort than you thought it would?
- What did you like most about the class?
- What did you like least about the class?
- What could you have done to improve your grade in this class?
- What was something unexpected that you learned?
- What was the most valuable thing that you learned?
- How did this class help you with your career/major decision?
- Would you recommend this class to another student?
- What advice (about this class or about college in general) would you give to an incoming student
Once I have the videos cut together I will post it here.
So that’s it! The end of this class. I will probably post a longer reflection on it later in a separate post, but I wanted to thank all of you readers for sticking with us thru this journey. Happy end of fall semester!
The last week of classes
Its the last week of classes. Our second to last class meeting since we do not have a final exam in this class and we won’t be meeting during finals week. For class today we viewed their 1 Second Everyday videos. This was their longest homework assignment and it involved downloading and using an app called “1 Second Everyday“. The students had to take video clip of each day of their fall semester, and with this app, they can edit these clips and pick out one second of each day and it mashes them all together into one long video a couple of minutes long. I love this app for a couple of reasons. First the videos the students create is adorable! Even though its only recording one second of their life from each day, you can really see how they spent their semester; studying, hanging out with friends, going to athletic events, eating, etc. Second its a great way to engage these digital natives on their own turf, and for those that aren’t comfortable with video production yet, its an easy way to get them exposed to shooting and editing. Third and most importantly it offers an opportunity to pause and reflect on time passing and how we are choosing to use our seconds that we can never get back. If you forget, the app will remind you to record your one second and it gently forces you to think about what you are doing in that moment and how would you want to remember this day. Is what you are doing meaningful? Worthwhile? Did it make you happy? Did you do something enjoyable, such as spend time on a hobby? Did you spend time connecting with loved ones or making new friends? You will never get this day back again, are you okay with how you are spending it? Completing this project asks some tough questions. I believe that if you are not happy with what you are doing then you should work to change it. And its really neat to see the students reflect on this as they were sharing their videos. Several of them mentioned that because they had to record seconds it made them get up and take part in campus activities (bonus reason for freshmen engagement!) Their videos are adorable and here are few of them:
1 Second Everyday
1 Second Everyday
1 Second Everyday
Its Thanksgiving week and most students have already taken off to go home for the holiday. So for today’s Tuesday class I gave them the option to miss class without penalty if they were already going to be gone. If they were around we would have our room and access to the computers and each other to use our class time to work on any projects that needed to be tied up, for this class or others. My first class had onlye one person show up, and they only stayed a little while. My second class however almost half the class came! It was so nice to see everyone, and they spent the class time working on projects and checking out other TedTalk videos we hadn’t seen yet.
There won’t be class on Thursday so that’s it for this week. Next week is the last week of school and then we are done! See everyone in December!
There are only 2 more weeks of school left. Only 3 more class meetings (2 if you count that hardly anyone shows up for thanksgiving week). The last of our assignments were due today, their final resumes and networking cards. We started talking about these way back in week 2 and the students had all semester to work on, revise, and tweak their resumes and ideally, match them to their networking cards and portfolio sites. I’d love to show you guys their awesome resumes and cards but since it has their personal information on them, I didn’t want to post images here. But check out their blogs, a few of them posted screen shots there.
We also spent some time today finalizing their projects for PRC, editing photos, and getting everything organized to turn in to Christine before the end of the semester.
Next week is thanksgiving and we don’t have class next Thursday. Tuesday will be hit or miss depending on people’s travel schedules so I’ve not planned much beyond talking about spring schedules (since everyone will be able to register by this weekend at the latest). We will also cover personal finance and maybe a couple of the other topics I had them read about but that we didn’t discuss yet, but it really depends on how many show up. I don’t want people to miss out on important topics, but then again we are running out of hours together.
Week after next is the last week of class before finals. Since Academic Foundations doesnt have a final exam, that will be our last class meetings. They will be doing their course evaluations, and we will be watching their One-Second-Everyday videos recapping their first semester in college. It will also be course evaluation time and I am looking forward to seeing the gains my student’s made. (We have a pre-test they take at the beginning and a post-test they take at the end to measure learning outcomes for the class). I am hoping they have all enjoyed the class and have gotten much out of it. I hope we have proven the potential for this class as a majors only section as well as covered all the important freshmen issues and topics academic foundations needs to cover.
We shall see!
As the semester is winding down the students are getting restless. Its almost time to register for classes and they are antsy about classes filling up. Its almost thanksgiving and they are excited to go home. We already went on our service learning project and all the assignments have come and gone. I purposely front end loaded the class with the career stuff so that here near the end we can spend more time discussing topics and exploring issues without having more homework assignments due.
The Ted Talk we watched today was of Isabelle Allende. Her talk was on living passionately no matter your age.
Today’s readings covered global citizenship and what it means to be interconnected. So our discussion today centered about talking about our place in the world and what the student’s planned to do with their lives. We talked about what they wanted to be remembered for when they are older. Its really neat to see them process these sorts of “big issues” and make sense and meaning out of them. These are students who are on the cusp of adulthood with their whole lives ahead of them and we are talking about what they want to be remembered for. It seems weird but I tie it back in to goal setting and living their lives with intention and how the choices they make today will impact where they will be tomorrow.
We also had another visitor; Professor Wendy Whitt came to meet the class and introduce herself to the group. Professor Whitt teaches the second prerequisite course in the major and several students will be in that class in the spring “Writing for Mass Media” Professor Whitt also teaches courses in the PR sequence and on social media and the students were really excited to get to meet here and hear about what they could expect of their next major’s course.
We also spent a little time reviewing what’s left for the semester and recapping registration issues. Overall another great day!
One of the assignments I had for the class was to do an informational interview with someone they found personally inspiring. Ideally I wanted to the students to get over the awkwardness of asking an adult for career advice and just talking to professionals. The clubs on campus bring people to campus all the time, and we regularly host corporate tours and speakers on campus so there is no shortage of people for them to meet!
It’s really important they get the hang of networking early and grow their professional networks starting as early as possible. This is what will open doors for them to land internships, find mentors, learn, and eventually get hired to their dream job.
The students ended up interviewing a wide variety of professionals, from Professors and authors, to business people, tv personalities, and even the owner of the the local hockey team.
Here’s a sample post from one of the students: https://emilylightningg.wordpress.com/2015/11/11/my-career-idol/
So for the past week we have been gearing up to go volunteer at the local animal shelter as a service learning experience. Last Saturday several students were able to go and participate in service at the location and today we spent our class-time volunteering as a big group. We went and shot a lot of photos and videos and created a lot of content that each student will use to create their personal project for the shelter based on their interest and expertise. So armed with cameras and dog treats we showed up in mass at the shelter and spent several hours playing with the animals and giving them some much needed socialization.We also got some amazing shots!