The semester is in its home stretch. It’s almost Thanksgiving (colonization and racism aside, Thanksgiving is my favorite day of the year). I’m up to my ears in job applications and oddly have actual homework to do. My car just got fixed up and new oil so it’s ready for my 630-some mile drive to Virginia next week. All in all, things are busy but good.
Thanks for reading my personal recap. Let’s get to the good stuff.
Three hour Psychology 101 one-shot: 2 handouts, 4 graded worksheets. 3 kinds of sources, 4 citations to write. It was a whirlwind of crazy but overall a very interesting if not quite involved session. Students had to find an article on Psychology Today (secondary source) then backtrace one of the empirical sources cited in the article (primary source) using the databases.
Sounds simple enough EXCEPT: a) these are freshmen who haven’t taken the required english course yet so are unfamiliar with research and citation practices; b) majority of student don’t care about psychology; c) Not all Psychology Today articles have citations. This means some students spend 30 minutes clicking and scrolling and getting frustrated. They have to cite their secondary and primary source then look through a reference source and find a relevant entry and cite that as well. Needless to say, it was a very involved yet informative session.
I spent most of the class walking around helping students find things and answering questions. Generally speaking, when doing reference-type work, it is best practice to guide the student but have them be the operator – they type, they move the mouse, etc. However, in this class, rules were broken. Some students were getting very very frustrated when they could not find a secondary source (see point C above). They were so frustrated that they had stopped trying and were staring blankly at the screen. Not blinking. Not moving. In those situations, I or the librarian would take the mouse and join the student in their misery. If we did not grab the mouse, nothing would’ve happened. The student made the decisions, but we took the mouse to break the wall frustration just a little.
A couple weeks after the class came in, two students who were absent were sent to the library, worksheets in hand, so they could play catch up. I felt awful for them. We gave them a quick crash course but I honestly cannot imagine playing catch up like that. It was such an intense session. I know things happen so I’m not faulting the student, but it’s unfortunate that they missed that particular class.