Wednesday, January 27, 2010

No sympathy from Professor Dutch

Professor Steven Dutch, a geologist at the University of Wisconsin--Green Bay, has a web page where he has collected complaints he's got from student evaluations and replied to them. I suspect he actually has a rather small number of complainers who use up an inordinate amount of his patience. That's consistent with my experience. One clueless student can take up as much out-of-class time, to no good end, as the entire rest of the class.

Anyway, I really liked this part, which applies to more than students:
I Disagreed With the Professor's Stand on ----

The time to deal with this issue is when it comes up in class. I have no respect for anyone who complains on the course questionnaires.

But the professor might put me down, or the students might laugh at me. Not too likely, but even if it happens, so what? If you don't have courage in the safe setting of a classroom, when exactly are you planning to develop it? When your boss asks you to falsify figures or lie under oath? When someone throws rocks through your minority neighbor's windows? When the local hate group burns the synagogue?

Labels: ,

Friday, September 07, 2007

Welcome students!

I just met some of you yesterday, and I'll see the rest of you on Monday and Tuesday, so I guess it is time to say a few words about this blog.

Muhlberger's Early History was created as an informal addition to my courses at Nipissing University, though in the past year and a half it's grown to be a bit more than that (like most journals do). I try, however, to keep my students foremost in my thoughts as I add to it. Here's what you can expect to find here:

1. Those pesky but sometimes useful and interesting announcements that are constantly coming my way: "Please announce this to your classes." That's not a very efficient way to get the information across. It's better to do this:

I am writing to invite you to attend and participate in the 2nd Annual Welcome Pow Wow scheduled for Friday, September 14, 2007 from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. It will be held outside the main cafeteria next to the pond (rain out location: Robert J. Surtees Athletic Centre).

The Aboriginal Learning Unit (ALU) of Canadore College and Aboriginal Services and Programs of Nipissing University are hosting this event to welcome students back to campus. As well, it is an opportunity for the campus community to participate in a social activity rooted in First Nation traditions.

Students, faculty and staff are invited to attend and participate in an event with traditional drumming, singing, dancing and food. Traditional drummers, singers and dancers (some of whom are our students) will be participating and you, the campus community are invited to join us.
2. Another kind of material is information directly related to the course material that occurrs to me during lecture or is just too long or tangential to fit into the scheduled class time. A great deal of it is in the news; you may be surprised how often history hits the various media outlets. Also there are plenty of well-informed people contributing short, medium and long pieces about subjects of historical interest.

Most of this material will be about "early history" since my specialty is medieval history and most of my teaching concerns the pre-railroad era (my personal definition of early, at least in a teaching context); however, since I sometimes teach right up the present (Islamic Civilization, this year's History of the Modern World), and have an interest in the world-wide history of democracy, recent events will creep in.

3. Finally, there will be more than a few entries that concern philosophical, historical, and political issues, either my thoughts or those of others on the web that I find interesting (not just those I agree with). I try to limit this material to avoid producing an unfocused personal blog, but on the other hand what use is a blog if it doesn't contribute occasionally to the Great Conversation?

Enough for now: To show you how this blog can be useful to you, I'm linking from here to the on-line lectures for HIST 2055 and HIST 3425 , so those of you who come here will see these resources just a little before everyone else.

Ancient History Lectures (still keyed to dates in 2000-1, I'm afraid; will fix.)

Medieval England Lectures (still says HIST 2425, a former course number for it; keyed to 2004-5.)

Labels: , , ,

Thursday, May 03, 2007

To my students, 2006-7

My work is done. Grades are submitted, and the research papers for the chivalry seminar can be recovered at my office. If you want to speak to me personally, I will be back in North Bay in about 2 weeks; or there is e-mail.

When I was ill this winter, the exercise of teaching was one thing that kept me going. As I started to get better, I began to realize what a privilege it is to teach undergraduates really interesting material. The fact that many of you responded did not hurt.

I should be at Convocation to see some of you graduate. If you're coming back next year and aren't in one of my classes, say hello anyway.

The image comes from our Chinese language site, which I didn't know we had.

PS: Like last year, I intend to post over the summer.

Labels: ,