Midterm in Discover

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Sadly, I’ve been less-than-dilligent about posting to this teaching blog–in part because of the chaos of my recent move, but also because this term has been busier in the classroom than most. My students seem to be slowing down a little, which isn’t surprising around this time of year; nonetheless, I think each group is coming along swimmingly.

Imagination, as someone is said to have noted, is more important than knowledge, and I can’t think of a better place to discover a critical sense of creativity than in the film class. This term, I’m working very hard on encouraging my first year students to test the waters–especially in terms of their own skills and abilities, but also in terms of their approach to research and coursework. Though I shouldn’t be, I’m often surprised when students freeze up or become shy in the face of a new idea or an unfamiliar task; it’s my hope that after this term, these first years will have acquired the academic self-confidence to play with new ideas, to dive into an assignment that asks one to learn new technologies, new skills, new ways of challenging themselves.

My DSC101 students completed the first essay project, and while many slightly missed the goals of the assignment–to organize their narrowed film analysis around a single point, generally the overall implicit or explicit meaning of Night of the Living Dead–I was happy to see most working hard on their ideas. (One student made her first trip to office hours in college with me!) I received a lot of responses that more resembled collections of observations than thesis-driven essays. And then again, this isn’t a writing class–though everyone should be simultaneously taking Composition 101. If I teach this course again, I’ll probably spend more time talking with the class about what they’re doing in Composition, just to help connect the dots.

We’re beginning work on the collaborative commentary project, and spirits seem to be picking up a little–I’m excited to see what everyone comes up with, and how the group dynamics pan out. The hardest thing about this project will be organization and staying on task.

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