As I work on my very first course syllabus for the Fall term at Dalhousie, I find myself reminiscing about my own time in library school and how I felt about the courses I took. Were they useful? Practical? Was I given enough hands-on work or discussions? What courses did I like? Dislike? Why?
The first class I’ll be teaching is the Organization of Information. And here I am, paging through my old notes and text (yes, I kept them!) to remind myself of what I learned and what I found useful/interesting. As one of those truly *nerdy* students, I took an abundance of notes for each course, writing more on topics that interested me and making side comments on theories and topics I didn’t understand or speakers that I found dull. I also, ahem, color coded each week in my binders so that they would all correspond….talk about the organization of information…
I do remember enjoying courses where a lot of discussion occurred and the class style was laid back. I don’t like the feeling that you can hear crickets in the room as the instructor asks a question. It either means everyone has zoned out, they don’t understand what’s being discussed or they’re bored and can’t wait for class to be done. Hopefully, I can find a balance between instructing and providing the information they need, with common sense applications and enough interest to keep the conversation flowing with the class.
As with all new instructors, I hope to put a little of myself and my own interests into this class, while maintaining the core structure and content that the students will need as a foundation for future classes.
So as I sit at my computer and work through the course schedule, week by week, I find myself wondering, how can I make this class interesting to newcomers? What will spark an interest and provide them with enough curiosity to ask questions? And I wonder, what do many of you feel about the courses you took? What differentiated an enjoyable course from a “so so I never want to attend that class again” course?