Happy holidays, everyone. Today’s post is another look back at my fall semester, thinking about what to abandon, begin, and continue doing for the spring. I’ve got two ideas for “begin,” one very simple and much more complex.
First, I have begun entering the classroom with my mobile phone on, ringer silenced. I discovered during the incident a few months ago that it is highly inconvenient waiting for one’s phone to boot up when one wants to call campus police. Before this happened I left my phone in my office most of the time. Not anymore.
Second, my spring semester course on globalization promises to be radically different from anything I have done before. The class will be collecting data in the field about local food consumption as part of a community engagement project. The project will entail splitting students into teams to tackle different tasks, so they won’t be marching in lock step through the semester, all doing the exact same things at the exact same time. One can never predict how well this arrangement will work — there is a much higher potential for the wheels to come off the bus.
Another new aspect involves interacting with students in two other courses, in an arrangement I now refer to as a pod. My students will supply spatial data on where people get the food they eat to students taking a geographic information systems course. And my class will be interviewing students in a sculpture course about how their work allows them to understand the concepts of place and making — which relate to the globalization of production and consumption that my students will be learning about. I and the two other faculty members in the pod managed to get our courses scheduled into the same time blocks, a piece of logistical jiu jitsu that will facilitate a type of student-student interaction across classes that I have never formally encouraged before. Since this is all part of a much grander experiment, I will be posting regular updates about the pod next semester.