Thursday, November 10, 2011

Blog Post # 12

Is 9 hours really enough for EDM 310?

In the middle of the semester, right around the same time students complete the midterm, they should complete a blog post stating whether 9 hours a week is really enough of a minimal commitment for EDM 310. They should base their decision on the amount of time they spend completing their assignments and the feedback provided by Dr. Strange and the lab assistants. This will allow the students to better prepare for the end of year review and help them see if they need to spend more time working on EDM 310 assignments. They should also answer the question Dr. Strange asked in the class session about why students have trouble commenting on other classmates work. They can cite resources (if they would like) to back up either of their claims (the nine hours a week is/isn't enough or about commenting on other classmate's work) but their posts should still meet the guidelines for writing a quality blog post and should still be substantial. It should provide valuable insight for Dr. Strange and help him understand the students’ point of view when it comes to time management and commenting on another students' work. Remember, we learn every day, the professors and the students.

Three signs on a post, one displaying now, one tomorrow, and the other yesterdayAs for me, I don't feel like 9 hours (even at a minimum) is really enough time to fully understand the material presented and discussed in EDM 310. I spend approximately 20 - 24 hours a week working on EDM 310 weekly assignments. I may be a little excessive but I want to make sure I really understand what is being said or discussed and provide valuable feedback or write a quality blog. Dr. Randy Pausch states in his video on Time Management "good judgment comes from experience and experience comes from bad judgment". Why is this so important for this class you ask? In the middle of the semester if the students have been making bad judgments and not getting the work turned in on time or have not been spending enough time working on the assignments, they now have the experience and should be able to evaluate themselves and make better decisions. It didn't take me to the middle of the semester to figure this out only because my ultimate goal is to get a 4.0 in all of my classes and if I drop the ball, I realize it is on me. My lack of effort will not result in me achieving this goal so I realized that I must change my behavior sooner rather than later. I did a self-reflection early and realized for me to be successful, I must spend more time on the assignments. I believe it has paid off and the effort I put into each and every assignment is noticed by Dr. Strange and the lab assistants.

Students grading each others' workDr. Strange asked in a class session why it was difficult for students to comment on another students’ work. I provided this response during the class: "Dr. Strange wants to know why it is difficult for students to critique each other in public. The problem is the students fear that they may not be qualified enough to tell someone they are incorrect. Yes, we only wish to help them and make them better but who are we to tell someone their work is not good enough. Most of us will tell someone privately as not to embarrass them in public and potentially end their career before it has even begun. Others just haven’t developed that level of comfort yet and are therefore reluctant to “judge” another students’ work. At this stage we are all working to get a degree but as a teacher you are supposed to know more and are more comfortable telling someone they are incorrect." After that class meeting I am a little bit more comfortable telling someone they are incorrect or they are doing something wrong in public and I will definitely question whether someone really understood what they were supposed to do. I do this because I just don't think that everyone in the class gets what they are truly supposed to be learning in this class. This class is about being an independent learner, learning from your mistakes and understanding the world around you. I don't want someone who couldn't understand how to complete an assignment and didn't bother to find out how to correctly complete that assignment teaching my children. I want the teacher to be well informed and able to go get help if they need it. Sometimes, it seems like some of the students are just lazy. I have 4 children, a wife, and go to school and work. I don't have a lot of extra time but I devote the hours needed to the assignments that need to be completed in all of my classes. Some students don't have half of the responsibility that I have yet they cannot write a quality blog post. To me, this is unacceptable especially for individuals that are typically juniors and seniors in college. We are all going to be teachers, showing children how they should live their life. Shouldn't we live ours as examples for the future?


  1. Wow! That much time. What should I cut? That is a serious question.

    Thanks for all your great work and wisdom!

  2. Hi Dr. Strange

    I may be one that spends too much time thinking about things so I believe it would be helpful to get more feedback from the other students also. The midterm questionnaire is good but it doesn't allow the students to really give any real feedback in the form of a discussion as the blog post do. By the end of the year, it is too late for students to change what they are doing in your class but they may be able to change how they work in other classes if they do a real self-reflection.

    The mid-term blog post is a way for you to see what has been useful and not useful for the students. It also provides them with an opportunity to look at themselves, grow up and become better learners and leaders. With that said, the least beneficial to me has been the C4T comments. It is good to read them so you can get a good feel for what it is like to teach but I don't think many of the teachers really care about our comments. I look for feedback so I have some form of dialogue (I like a good debate and no I wasn't on the debate team). If teachers aren't responding or sometimes even reading our comments, I think the comments are a waste of time.

    All of the projects are beneficial because they are introducing us, the students, to new and a lot of times unfamiliar uses of technology (including web applications). The C4K’s and C4C’s are extremely important for the kids and other students in EDM 310. I also understand why we are creating blogs. Based on reviews of other students' blogs, I can truly say they really need assistance if they want to be successful teachers. They need to learn how to become a professional writer (even if it is just for elementary students and parents).

    I recently told my 13 year old daughter: It's not OK to do right just because you know someone is watching because you never really know who's watching you. What I meant by this is that anyone could see anything you do or have done even if you are unaware of their presence. Do right, avoid big mistakes that could cost you in the future and learn from the small ones you make. The junior and senior level students in EDM 310 should understand this. You told us at the beginning of the class that everything was going to be on the web and anyone could see it but some students (please excuse my use of words) continue to post junk as if they were still in the 2nd grade. For the most part it is laziness and I don’t want my kids subject to this laziness or those that receive teaching certifications unworthily.

    What you require of us in your class helps weed out some that are just looking for an easy degree but others still find a way to sneak through. When you start teaching, time is not on your side so besides the C4T’s I don’t see anything else that is too much. We need to learn how to produce quality work in a timely manner. The time I spend, although it is a lot, is well worth it if I plan to become an excellent teacher who knows how to manage time well. As I said before, I have a lot of other responsibilities (probably more than many others in this class) and I find a way to get everything done and hopefully well.

    The minimum time needed is 9 hours but if you plan to contribute substantial work in this class, worthy of recognition to those with more than a grade school level of education, you will have to spend more time planning, researching, and proving what you have learned.

    Dr. Strange, hopefully I have helped answer your question but if you need to come to me for anything, even after this class has concluded for the semester, please feel free to contact me. Many call me crazy because I love to debate any topic that I have relevant knowledge on and I love learning new things. I say it is all a part of living and growing.

    Talk to you soon!

    - Ramsey Willis

  3. Ramsey,

    If I quoted everything that I agreed with in this post, I would run out of room - or, at least, your patience. Excellent, as usual!
    I like the idea of a midterm reflection blog post. Since we have to do one as a part of our final, it is only fitting that we start thinking about it during mid-term. I ,too, spent WAY more than 9 hours on this class. I found it easy to get "carried away" with expressing my opinions and researching topics. Nine hours, as you so rightly stated, is the MINIMUM amount of time to do QUALITY work. The more time you dedicate, the more thought will go into your posts, and therefore, the better your assignments will be.
    On a different note, I like what you told your daughter about doing right even when no one is watching. It is really encouraging to see others encourage children to live a Biblical life.

    Well done,

    Rebekah Lloyd