Monday, October 26, 2015

Should I be using the Publisher Provided Online Material?

It's a bit frustrating.

I remember when I first started teaching Astronomy... I was using the same book as I am now, but I went online and checked out the material.  It was truly a massive amount of stuff.

Alright, so I have an option.  I can require it--in which case

  1. I am no longer the teacher of the course.
  2. I am requiring them to find a usable internet connection
  3. I have to spend all my time confirming that the course is set up correctly.
  4. There is little reason to attend the class since most of the lessons are time-consuming online, interactive
Or I can just mention that it is available--in which case
  1. No student will bother.
  2. I give a strong implication that I am not giving them access to the full experience of the course.
Or I can just make up my own lesson plans and assignments and quizzes in which case
  1. I don't feel alienated from my students, or from their education.
  2. They can ask me questions that I know the answers to.
  3. I can present material so that it's designed to TEACH rather than designed to TEST.

I guess as an adjunct college teacher, I have some advantages that some other teachers might not have... While I'm not making very much money, I also haven't really signed away my rights to some corporate Testing Standards Agency.

I shouldn't really complain...  What the publishing companies provide is "What We Paid For." but the prices are high, and What We Paid For is actually quite a bit more than we can use.  Can you imagine?  You pay $200.00 or $300.00 for a textbook, and you have to glean every penny-worth of value out of it?  That's a lot of mining!

Oh well.  I feel like I need to keep making new blogs...  This article hardly fits in under Special and General Relativity, does it?   It's more like...  Well, I guess it comes out more on the "Spoonfed" side.  How do I spoonfeed an education...  

It's because when I originally started the Spoonfed project, I wasn't a professor.  Actually I was an unemployed computer programmer.  So at the time, I believed in making little flash-applications to educate people.

Anymore, I believe in standing in front of a classroom and explaining equations or drawing pictures on the board.  Well, I think they're both good methodologies... But the latter can actually get me paid, and puts me in front of other people.  Making little flash applications is alienating--(even if they work)--because you never actually get to see anybody use them or learn anything from them.

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