2014 – My classes in review

The year is about to end therefore it’s time for a short review regarding this year’s classes. Tops, Flops and take-aways. Let’s go.

#Winning Classes

Open Internet Exams

One of my favorite new approaches that I tried was the switch to Open book / tablet exams. This was quite tricky though. I had to explain it to the associate dean of academics as well as to my students what that would mean. Students at first though “Oh yeah, using the internet. Awesome” – It took them a while to realize that questions in the exam would, obviously, be adjusted and that I wouldn’t ask questions such as ‘Name 3 components of X…’. I gave them the chance to vote anonymously whether or not they would want to try it anyways and 26 out 27 students voted with ‘yes’ so we went along.

While the start of the exam was quite relaxed and easy (I still went with a few MC questions just to release the tension) students quickly realized that it won’t be all just ‘google and copy’ the answer during the exam. Lots of research needed to be done and knowledge needed to be applied. A tough task for some but incredibly interesting for me. It showed perfectly which students understood what we talked about in class and who didn’t pay much attention or didn’t take any notes during lectures. In the end I saw lots of very creative exams but also a fair share of exams that simply had wikipedia answers in it (that didn’t fit the actual questions since I never asked for a definition of anything).

Looking forward to trying this again in another class.

New Media Studies

This was one of my favorite classes of 2014. As well as in terms of content but also in terms of student participation and project presentations. I started this class from scratch and created all slides and presentations just for this class using New Media examples and cases that were red hot and in students’ minds. Lots of work but very much worth it. This showed that, even though we had to talk about some ‘boring’ theories once in a while, you can still win students over by simply putting enough work into class preparation.

Highlight (for me, for students more pressure) was their final group project where they had to come up with New Media strategies for different kinds of brands / companies. Most groups outdid themselves and delivered incredibly well leaving me, for the first time ever, almost speechless (in a positive way). Seems like it’s really ‘what goes around comes around’. If you work hard in preparing classes, students work hard in doing their assignments. Win:Win 🙂

Master Class Social Media Management

Another, different, class was a class on Social Media Management. I had to fill in for a colleague and was asked to give a lecture on SMM. At first it was a bit disappointing to see that lots of the students apparently had no idea about Social Media Marketing (other than ‘make people like’) but I then was positively surprised how interested they were to learn and hear more about ‘real’ Social Media Marketing. It was supposed to be a 3 hour lecture but we ended up talking way longer and way more than planned since they’ve been so hungry for more real life examples and ideas. Great to see when students are actually into what they study.

#Fail

While I had lots of cool classes, some classes, obviously, didn’t went as expected. So let’s have a short look onto the #fails of the past year.

Online Business Management

Coming from the Online Marketing sector I was super psyched when I’ve been asked to teach online business management class. I thought that’s something very current and something that is exciting to understand. 50% of the students in attendance however though Online Business means ‘Get rich quick. Without much work’. Seriously? If there was such a thing why would others still work? Think about it, University student!

Since lots of students had a completely different idea of online business and where pretty disappointed when I told them that online business actually is hard work and that we do have to study and understand lots of stuff here it became pretty clear that we won’t have as much fun in this class as expected.

Learning for next time: Make the faculty tell and explain students what certain subjects actually mean.

English

As one can see from my articles, I’m not a native speaker. Far from it. I didn’t even study English language as a major, yet I always get asked to teach Listening & Speaking classes. While I think that I’m good in building rapport with students and make them understand what’s important in terms of listening and speaking I still think it would be more beneficial to have an actual English teacher teaching this subject.

The fact I don’t like it that much is not necessarily a failure though. The ‘fail’ in this case is the fact that students have to pass. And if they don’t pass they have to do extra assignments until they do. Makes sense? No. Right.

#Next

IT Law

The latest addition to my teaching resume is a class called IT Law. That’s quite challenging since I’m not a lawyer. Working online I obviously know quite a bit about IT Law and follow the news quite interested but teaching that stuff is something completely different. That now somehow made me a student again. I’m spending lots of time reading through actual laws, understanding their meaning, checking cases, etc. Super intense, super exhausting but also very interesting. Since I always try to deliver the best class possible preparation takes me a lot of time but I also learn a lot while doing that. Challenge accepted.

Oh and finally watching Ally McBeal and Boston Legal comes in handy 😉

More on that then in the next review.

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