After a lot of debating with myself, I think it’s best to go on to the first part of critical thinking today. We’ve already given a strong message that it’s the meat of the course, and already requested that they bring their books and choose an article with a strong opinion to analyze.
It looks very promising for an outside class – sunny, high near 75.
The debating with myself was caused by WAY too little time for the students' discussion of syllabus revisions. It was a combination of startup logistics taking longer than expected and me trying to be too thorough and stopping often to ask questions during the Generalized New Information. When I get to the GNI about critical thinking, please time me and signal me when I get to 8 minutes. Nobody will believe it’s really a participatory, student-led class if I keep yammering on, and we already introduced the topic. Having said that, there was decent participation by a number of students throughout the session.
It’s also OK if the Practical Exercise and sharing finish early today, more time for what’s up next ( Critical thinking II, Information fluency, Problem-solving/design thinking and PSP) and what about that syllabus. I’m proposing that the syllabus work happen offline, in groups, communicating with me in person when I'm in the library or via e-mail, supplemented by a couple of journal entries (thanks to Molly for encouraging the use of journals!), and due when it’s needed. Unless they’ve mentioned it to Molly, nobody’s in a panic over grades or bugged me for the Wes Moore papers back. I’m taking that to mean we have time to deal with expectations and assessment.
I think that we all need time to get over the initial awkwardness and get more used to one another. The syllabus project is yet another application of critical thinking, leadership,and creative problem-solving, so I can keep bringing what we do in class to bear on that project.