WHEREAS, an unreasonable amount of time was spent on preparing for classes last semester…
And that time had very little payoff. I spent a significant amount of time grading and preparing for my undergraduate class last semester, and it didn’t turn out as well as I might have liked. Part of that, no doubt, was that the formal structure was lacking. I expected that my lectures could draw an audience, despite the fact that attendance did not directly relate to the grade in a transparent way, and that the class was held at the far reaches of the campus.
But… I’ve noticed an inverse relationship between the amount of time I prepare for a given lecture and the student response to that lecture. I suspect that part of that is that I am more nervous when I am less prepared, and that I translate that nervousness into energy when I am lecturing, but it may just be that I tend to stuff too much into a lecture when I have spent too much time preparing for it. By keeping the amount of information–or at least “facts”–down to a minimum, it gives us a chance to do a better job of understanding some of the intricacies.
There are limits to the amount of time efficiency I can realize in the coming semester, since both courses are new for me, but I am going to try. I have relented, and am using a text book for the course (blah!). I will keep most of my lectures within the boundaries set by the text. I plan on reserving a significant chunk of time each week to talk about both current events and the applications to new technology, and these will require a bit more preparation, but are related to my interests and research.
I will also try to allow for more student-oriented work: in-class group work, and the like. These are sometimes less planning intensive than lectures–if only marginally.
THEREFORE, let it be resolved that I will plan a block of several hours each week in which I will fit all class planning.
This doesn’t include grading, setup, meeting with students, dealing with technology, or any of the other myriad tasks that seem to appear. However, I will schedule this block of time as non-flexible, and I will have to stay ahead of lesson planning within the block of time which I allot.