The Life of a Wannabe Academic

Detail of the life a new academic. The progress from graduate training to professor. Includes reflections on the job hunting process, research in technology and education, and what it is like to be a new college professor.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Planning for Next Semester

I have learned that fortunately I have been given a section of Introduction to Psychology to teach once again. My department and Chair have been very helpful in allowing up graduate students who want to teach ample opportunities to do so. Ever since I received my Masters, I have been given many opportunities to teach courses as primary instructor, including courses in Educational Psychology and Developmental Psychology.

I have taught Intro a couple of times before, but this will be the first time that I will have a large number of students (100+), and this will actually be my largest class ever. I will have 2 undergraduate TA's to run my lab sections. This is certainly a good opportunity for me to revamp my Intro class. The way that I teach it now assumes a smaller class size (< 30) and therefore I will need to adjust when I do certain things like class discussions and some demonstrations and the type of project that I will have my students complete. I have for the last two times I've taught the class had the students do a type of research article on a topic of their choosing. This was done in peicemeal fashion with many small steps along the way (choose topic, do literature search, summarise articles, then write an intergrative paper on these articles), but with 100+ students and having undergraduate TA's will not allow me to do such a labor intensive project.

So now I need to think of another, possibly more fun project for my students to do. Some people have their students compile a portfolio of examples of psychology from media, others a paper on a movie that is about topics in psychology. I'm not sure what I plan to do just yet. I am a big believer in a Liberal Arts type of education, so I see a written project as very important in my students' educations.

I am also pondering changing the topics that I cover. Over the years I have found certain chapters to bore me (such as cognition, problem solving, and language). I am thinking of including topics such as Health Psychology, stress, and other topics that I think the students (any myself) will be more interested in.

Also I am debating if/how I will incorportate some sort of research into this class. I plan to use my clickers (TurningPoint) again, and maybe even myy advisor's online study tool. But right now I'm not sure how to best study these. More thoughts and maybe some brainstorming with Mark will help.


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