Students are back on Thursday, and I want to plan finish planning schedules, assignments and guest lecturers before then. I’m still a rather new teacher, you know, and I want to feel in control of this stuff. Mind you, at this point I still have no idea how many students I’ll have. It would be very nice to have that clear in my mind before the first class.

This semester I’m teaching HUIN105: Web design and web aesthetics. Students are supposed to learn the basics of HTML and CSS, and will construct websites in groups for 60% of their final grade. The remaining 40% of the course is about reading the web: understanding and interpreting web genres and practicing writing for the web. Like last spring, I’m using blogs extensively. Each student will have their own blog and will write throughout the semester. We’ll do lots of in class blogging and in addition to specified weekly writing tasks there’ll be three graded assignments over the course of the semester. One of these assignments will involve designing the blog and explaining the design choices, both in terms of information organisation, concept, style and visuals.

I’m finding it really hard to stop myself from putting far too much into the syllabus. I want to teach them everything – and of course, if I try to do that, I’m bound to fail. But it’s so hard to have to leave important things out!

10 thoughts on “new semester

  1. HÂkon Styri

    “I want to teach them everything”

    Welcome, students. This is the last course you’ll ever attend. 😉

  2. Jill

    Total education 🙂

  3. Alvaro Ramirez

    Jill, your description tells me that I should attend your course…
    but do I need the credits?
    Do I have access in the first place?
    and last but not least… do I have the time?

  4. torill

    You start planning now for students arriving in three days? Either your planning is extremely simple or you are in trouble… But from what I know of the University, this should work out fine!

  5. Jill

    Now, now, Torill, no need to intentionally misread me! Ah, I see, I should have written “finish planning” instead of “plan”.

    😉

    I think we started planning the logistics of this particular course early last semester – how many lectures, how many students we think we’ll have, how many guest lecturers, rooms, teaching assistants. Content planning follows on from work done over two years or more, actually, given it’s an exension of previous related courses though it’s only the second semester this particular course has run. The curriculum and times and places were finalised in November, and I spent quite a lot of December planning the content from week to week, detailing assignments and how we’ll organise grading, finding guest lecturers, drafting the schedule for the whole semester. Most of the work’s done but I want to know exactly what I’m doing before the students arrive.

    Well, close to exactly. I doubt any teacher plans every lecture and words every assignment for the whole semester in detail in January. Not even you do that, surely, Torill?

    Alvaro, you’re more than welcome to join in – but somehow I doubt you’ll have the time – there’ll be lots of work!

  6. torill

    Just about… since I now have given so many lectures it’s hard to find space for new subjects within the limitations of what I teach. But I still spend as much time on preparing just before the lecture, can’t just turn over that old stack. So: nah… I was mostly just pulling your leg.

    And actually, I was optimistic for a moment there – hoping there was some place in this world where it was possible to get by without that eternal planning. We do it in excruciating detail, to the extent that I sometimes tell the students I will start writing their shopping lists and planning their meals, too. (Perhaps I could get one of the large grocery chains to sponsor that thought…) And we still have to change, reschedule and correct errors, so that the plans at the end of the semester look nothing like what they did at the beginning.

    It’s one of the roughest tasks of the semester, and my wet dreams of the perfect workplace includes a very efficient assistant who does ALL of that.

  7. Jill

    Oh, wouldn’t that be WONDERFUL!

    Except – oh dear, just imagine the problems finding an assistant who’d do it JUST RIGHT!

  8. HÂkon Styri

    “my wet dreams of the perfect workplace includes a very efficient assistant who does ALL of that”

    Oh my, that reminds me of the first course I lectured at a university. I had to step in for a professor at very short notice and “inherited” his TA. Too late I realized that in addition to preparing the lab sessions he also used to grade the term papers for the lazy prof. That was quite a disaster.

    Thus, some assistants do too much. However, Jill’s safe by asking for the assistent who’d do it just right. And if you manage to find her, your next problem is to keep her from being head-hunted. (Maube this would be the place to introduce Torill’s total planning, and start feeding your perfect assistant.)

  9. MisterBS

    I’d love to take your class, but I’m not sure I can make the commute to Bergen (from the US). I suggest we establish some sort of online Chautauqua for techno/rhetoricians.

  10. torill

    HÂkon Styri said: “And if you manage to find her, your next problem is to keep her from being head-hunted.”

    Her? That is not the word I would use for the polite, handsome, well-groomed person I envisioned in that role…

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