About an hour ago I attended a talk by Marco Molinaro that was so inspiring I had to share about it right away. Dr. Molinaro is the director of an organization at UC Davis (the iAMSTEM Hub) that uses research and analytics to improve the quality of undergraduate education at the university. You might have read the recent New York Times article on innovation in STEM teaching at Davis–Dr. Molinaro’s shop had a lot to do with that innovation.
Between my daughters’ school cancellations, their getting sick, and spending the weekend sick as a dog myself, it’s been a tough last couple weeks. Work has suffered, but not by as much as it could have. Three things have been getting me through the rough patches: technology, fun, and most of all, my students.
I often listen to podcasts after my kids go to bed as I putter around the house washing dishes or doing laundry. Some are about technology (ATP and The Talk Show) or sports (The BS Report) or science (Star Talk) and some cut across categories (The Nerdist). Over time, you build a “relationship” with hosts of a good show and look forward to hearing them say interesting things and talk with interesting guests.
I take great pride in being able to synchronize the different pieces of a long class, adjust on the fly, and come into the finish line exactly on time. Last year I failed more often than I succeeded when teaching my advanced economics seminar on human capital in Latin America, and this semester was (is) going to be different. My plan was to reduce the amount of material students present and replace my mini-lectures on advanced statistical methods with videos the students watch outside class. And yet my time management in class today was still a train wreck.
On Saturday night I recorded and posted my first two econometrics mini-lectures. I had decided to do this for my seminar on human capital to free up time for classroom discussion, and give my students resources they could refer to as they read research articles that used those methods. It seemed like such a good idea as I was updating the syllabus, but then I actually had to create two of them for this week’s reading.