What Is It to Truly ‘See’ and How to Deal with the Unseen

By Alexandra Courtois de Vicose, History of Art
When confronted with a Monet water landscape last spring and asked, “What do you see?” [my students] rightly answered, “A boat.” “You understand this shape as a boat because, culturally, you know what a boat looks like. Keep in mind, however, this is but an amalgamation of pigment on a two-dimensional surface. So, really, what do you see?”

Interpretation as Staging: A Lesson in Dramatic Literature

by Jordan Greenwald, Comparative Literature
I…came to realize that this lesson could not be learned through class discussion alone, since asking these questions while leading discussion is pedagogically less effective than getting students to ask those questions themselves. I therefore decided, with the encouragement of my co-instructor, to design a group assignment that would familiarize students with the choices one makes when bringing a dramatic text to life.

The Hip Bone is Connected to the Thigh Bone: Fostering Higher-Order Learning by Not Answering Students’ Questions

by Julie Wesp, Anthropology
I wanted to create an environment that would stimulate higher-order learning and instill a deeper understanding and organization of the information. Answering the kind of questions the students were asking did not help them to piece together the parts into a whole; it only insinuated that repetitive memorization was the key to success. In an effort to break this cycle, during the next section I simply stopped answering them.

Seeing for Yourself

by Ryan Turner, Astronomy (Home Department: Earth and Planetary Science)
Not everything we learn in school is easily quantified, and the goal of the C12 star party did not include specific learning objectives. The effectiveness of the project was measured in oohs and aahs as students took their first look through the eyepiece.

The Advantages of Rearranging the Topics Covered in a Course

by Peyam Tabrizian, Mathematics
in the spirit of my Math 54 experience as a student and as a GSI, I decided to reorganize things. Instead of teaching the course in two separate chunks, I mixed the topics up in a way that I would first teach a linear algebra concept, and then immediately apply it to differential equations.

A Hands-On Approach to User Interface Prototyping

by Lora Oehlberg, Mechanical Engineering
I realized that…workshops should be available to students beyond ME290P…because the workshops help students develop marketable skills for careers in design, [so] I initiated a series of User Interface Prototyping Design Clinics that focused on teaching hands-on prototyping skills to communicate design concepts.

Teaching the ‘Errors of the Past’

by Matthew Sargent, History
To my students…the past was merely a “repository of error,” and the history of science was only the chronicle of humankind’s gradual purging of mysticism and error. My goal was to convince them that the ideas long since discarded from the canon of science could teach them something worthwhile about science itself.

Bringing Opera Closer to Home

by Michael Markham, Music
The difficulty of classical opera for students…lies in a perceived cultural distance between the realistic dramatic forms that today’s students relate to and cartoonish images of huge, blubbering sopranos…The form tends to remain closed to undergraduates; a huge, hulking, messy, “dead” thing with little direct emotional impact resonance for them. In the 2004 Summer session, however, I decided to meet the students halfway.