Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Cheese Moved

Note to myself: Next time my BYU-Idaho classes insist I break my students up into groups, I’M NOT GOING TO DO IT.

Oh, I will do it. I’ll send out a sheet that divides the students into groups, and tell them – implore them – to only worry about commenting on the papers in their own group. But I won’t use BrainHoney to physically divide them into groups, because it just causes too many headaches.

Some students end up in groups with people who don’t participate until the last minute. Some get confused in trying to figure out which group they’re in, and whether their posts are displaying correctly. And last semester, when I tried to fix things, all of their posts mysteriously disappeared when I pushed the fix button. So I won’t do that again either.

Yeah, I know they should be used to having their cheese moved. I know that despite the explanation of the group work in this week’s folder, plus what explanation or obfuscation I offer, there will be confused students. I’m beginning to wonder if not physically dividing them into groups will fix that problem.

So maybe I’ll do this: I’ve got two sections. Next time I have to divide them into groups, I’ll do one the physical way and one the paper way, and see which functions the best. That’s not really a fair test, however, since they’ve already had to go through the discussion group thing this week. They’ll be better prepared the next time.

And, for the most part, I’m not getting questions on the group discussions. That’s likely for one of two reasons:

1) The explanations offered are clear enough already.
2) They’re just posting as they normally would, disregarding any instructions.

Given my experience over the summer, I’m going to bet heavily on No. 2 – and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. At least they’re getting their assignments turned in. That’s what counts, right?

But there’s more. They ought to get used to having their cheese moved – because it’s going to happen an awful lot to them as they get older. Happens to me all the time. I don’t like it any more than they do, but experience and the college of hard knocks has taught me just to roll with the punches. Kinda like this guy:

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