Sep 24, 2009

Department of Poor Time Management, or What the Fark Was I Thinking?

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I gave students in one of my distance learning classes a Web-based assignment, which was to locate and analyze a short propaganda film from the World War II era. I suggested a few sites to them, like this collection at the site Museum of the Moving Image, which allowed students to choose a video that appealed to their specific research interests.

So far, so good: the assignment had the highest participation of any in the semester's first five weeks, and there were quite a few lively discussions as students debated the merits and/or problems with particular pieces of wartime propaganda.

What I neglected to take into consideration was the amount of my own time needed to review some 25-odd video clips. In good conscience I could not simply read the analyses without watching the related films, and I ended up spending about three hours watching the videos so that I would be knowledgeable about the essays.

The papers themselves, of course, ate up another three hours of my time, meaning that I spent the better part of 10 hours in grading a single weekly assignment for a single class. Thus, I am torn: the assignment seemed to resonate with these students in a way that previous assignments did not, and it created some heated debate, but at the same time it is impossible for me to devote so much time to a single assignment every week.

Unless, of course, I want to work 75 hours a week during semesters and increasing the likelihood that I will be seeking out masculine versions of wrinkle creams at age 55, which I do not. I love teaching, but there are limits to the amount of time I want to spend on a job with relatively low wages, no matter how much it provides professional and intellectual satisfaction.

6 comments:

SensorG said...

After watching all those films, you ready to kick some Nazi butt?

microdot said...

I have to thank you for posting Tokio Jokio...I found a treasure trove of this stuff on You Tube and thanks to my buddy, Mr. Politeness we have been suggesting our favorites to eachg other...this extremely important research will keep me busy for months...

9258 Photo said...

But next semester it should be easier in the fact that many of the films students choose you would have already watched? Or maybe next time let the students choose from a list as it seems like it was a well received project.

Mr. Puggle said...

oh history mike, i hear your pain. teaching can never be a profit making business.

what if you assign the students teams and they have to watch and grade each others essays. then you just grade their summary? then the student learns about another view in addition to their own.

dr-exmedic said...

And you even have someone translating Tokio Jokio for you.... :)

historymike said...

Oy - frigging spammer hit my blog with about 20 of these spam comments. Off to cleanup duty...