Summer Nights

June 30th, 2015

I have passed the halfway point of my physical anthropology class, so it is a good time to check in with an update of my experiences!

First, hi class! I inadvertently blasted my site’s address on the projector screen when I was demoing Anthropomotron for my forensic anthropology lecture. This is a publicly-accessible site, of course, but I’ve never known of a student who was reading it while taking my class.

Teaching physical anthropology summer night class has indeed kept me very busy. Just as the class is learning the subject at a rapid pace, I have to keep up with course planning. Each week brings eight hours of class, which translates to around a hundred lecture slides! Using my own online course material as inspiration, I could make a lecture of fifty slides in three days, a pace that fits the schedule. On average, I spend a day making a slide outline of topics that makes sense, a day filling the slides with text, and the last day finding illustrations and videos. By the time I actually give the lecture, I’m usually already far into the next outline.

I do try to add activities to the class. One particular activity that I was looking forward to trying was Skeletal Voltron. I will detail this in its own post, but it involved students going outside to form a giant skeleton on the ground. I also had more typical activities such as discussions of articles. For the next class, I plan of having teams of students make posters about primates to present to each other. At the halfway point, and just after the first midterm, a short team project should keep the energy going.

Actually, I have been surprised by how attentive the class I’ve been. I’ve seen some zoned-out audiences in my time, but as I look out at my class, I see only a few sleepy faces. Especially surprising for a class that ends after 10 PM! I’ve been getting a lot of good questions and comments as well. Working off of what students say has been a fun exercise.

Alright, break is over. Prehistoric primates, australopithecines, Homo, and then it’s time for finals!


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