May 5, 2006

The End of Finals Week

(Toledo, OH) This history class at the University of Toledo was hard at work taking a final exam today when I interrupted them with a quick bit of flash photography.

For most students our final exam was their last activity before the semester ended, and for a few students, the last step before graduation and what they hope will be an exciting career in their respective fields.

For me the end of a class is always a bittersweet moment, whether as a student or as an instructor. Each class develops its own personality over the months, and the particular events over the course of a given semester will never again be repeated.

Simultaneously, there is always a sense of relief when a long semester ends.

This particular semester was somewhat less satisfying to me, as the large class of 200 met for lectures two days a week, and broke up into 15 online discussion groups for the third portion of the class. I consequently got to know fewer of the students by name, and only learned a few things about them in the online rooms.

I much prefer traditional face-to-face instruction, although the trend is toward more distance learning and Web-assisted courses.

Thank you, though, History-1200 students for an enjoyable semester. I learned as much from you as I hope that you did from me.


Bryan said...

Mr. Brooks, I know I'm a little late on this - but it's awesome to see you blogging. I look forward to sitting down and reading all the way back to July of 2005!

historymike said...

Thanks, avitar. Be prepared, though: I have almost 600 posts in the past ten months, and some of them are long-winded!

Lloyd said...

Out of four classes I took, I only had a final in one of them.

It's amazing how easily we adjust to change. My final was Monday, and I was at the Univesity today and it seemed like forever since I had been there.

historymike said...

Agreed, Lloyd.

I spent Tuesday through Thursday away from campus, and it also felt like an eternity.

We are definitely creatures of habit...

Hooda Thunkit said...

As for that distance learning thingie Mike, you had better get used to it.

I hear that sort of thing is catching on... ;-)

So much for REALLY getting to know your students :-(

uptheflag said...

Nice to meet U, historymike....I have had the same interests as U in history with a Master's in Russian History, and doing the Ph.D. in Early Modern Europe.....
Retired now....Taught small colleges in ND and MT., ending up in administration....I became director of off-campus programs in MT. What I did was to co-ordinate the delivery of off-campus courses to rural areas of MT...U know, cowboys and cowgirls, lol....Well, not exactly...The original impetus
came from the USAF and State law enforcement....This was late '60s and the entire decade of '70s...The USAF had made MT into an underground nuclear silo attack operation...Missle sites scattered all over the State with
15-20 airmen at each site for a month at a time for launch and maintenance around the clock....To make a long story short, lets say that we developed a long distance
delivery of off campus educational services to these bases and then to many of the small towns for police, firemen, and the highway patrol. This was funded under the
LEEP law, that is, Law Enforce-
ment Education Program. All we had were telephone lines and video-
taping. Yes, very impersonal, but it worked....
When Hooda thunkit says its the future, well it's like "back to the future", it seems to me. Been there, done that....However, I
share the concern over large on-campus classes. Like U, I am a people person and enjoyed the give and take of classroom exchanges...