Sunday, December 12, 2010

Humble pie

    I wanted to have my students show their understanding of copyright and fair use issues, things we’ve been talking about all year, but which we had recently been focusing on.  I used four different cases, situations described in a paragraph; students were to use one case and explain if there was a violation of copyright, and if the person in the case could change something so this became a case of fair use. 

    I tried to set it up as I had experienced this kind of assignment in adult classes, with the discussion referencing the cases on a link.  Wrong, wrong, wrong.  The students were confused by the two links – which were they supposed to click on, where were the cases again.  Moodle has these nice icons that distinguish between documents and discussions – only students weren’t looking at those.  Fortunately this is a hybrid class where I introduce new activities in the computer lab, so I could demonstrate what students needed to do and deal with the confusion.  Really glad I didn’t make this a homework assignment.  My students did fine once they understood what I wanted.  But it is so humbling to think that you’ve been so clear, and then to find out that you were not.

    While students feel free to click all over when they are surfing, this doesn’t necessarily happen in class.   I suspect part of the reason for this is the antiquity of the computers in the lab – they are old and thus slow; students don’t really want to experiment and then have to sit and wait, which already happens all too often. 

    So, the lesson is, put everything together in one place as much as possible.  I need to always be mindful of how my students will approach their work.


  1. WOW! That's a fabulous idea. Too bad the university I work for has P and D develop the classes so they are "canned" for us.

  2. @MB278 - It's so much fun to create activities for your students. Sorry to hear you don't have that flexibility. Can you sneak in extra discussion questions?