Sunday, March 13, 2011

First Week Facebooking

My ENG102 met on the first day in C 238, a warehouse of a computer lab. This was different. For them and for me. Student reactions were mixed, but tended toward the anxious. I think that meeting in the lab on the first day--and hearing about how this class would make use of the facebook, etc.--was just too much newness for most of them. They were unsure about me, the puters, the networking. Anxiety levels (I always ask this on the first day) averaged a 7, which is pretty high since 10 is total howling-fantod mode.

As Professor Trapani had forecasted, there were a few students who were vehemently opposed to the facebook. Some of them had seen The Social Network and thought Zuckerberg was an asshole. Some just didn't want to use it. In the end, however, the EVIL EMPIRE got 'em all. Ha, ha, ha...

Our second meeting was in a "traditional" classroom. This set them (and me) at ease. I surveyed the class again and discovered that as computer literate or social media-friendly as they may be, they still prefer the ole standard issue classroom. This meeting proved to be very successful--more successful than the first, methinks. I took time not only to introduce them to the sorts of literary analysis we'll be doing in the class, but also the assignments we'll be working on in the lab. In their course packet, students can see every assignment for the semester--all short writing assignments and longer essays. We looked at these together. Because every assignment is already available, many of the students expressed interest in getting an early start on the writing. Sounds good to me.

After discussing how we'll approach the in-class writing and what's going to be expected in the lab on Tuesdays, anxiety levels dropped. Many students even admitted that they think it's going to be a fun semester. They all seem very interested in New York City history and literature. All Hail King Zuckerberg!


  1. I am beginning to suspect they prefer the old standard issue classroom because that means YOU have to do most of the work during class where the computer mean THEY have to do something. Many (not all) of our students skated through HS totally under the radar.