Friday, November 22, 2013

Semester Fatigue - Another View

My post of last Tuesday on Semester Fatigue has attracted a few more views (213 views in 3 days) than my normal posts, and is today at #16 in the top 20 "Top Stories" on the Ninth Level Ireland website. I also received a few likes and comments. Today I read another view, "End of semester fatigue – an honest reflection", posted on the Canadian based Institute for Learning and Teaching website.

In the post, the anonymous science instructor reports that his students "are tired, struggling to take in the new material they are learning and to keep up with the relentless pace of their second year science courses", and that his "classes, which are usually filled with questions, observations and jokes from the students are slowly becoming less and less interactive". The instructor has found that he/she is "mirroring these changes", and that he/she would "love to slow down the pace and end these courses by pleasantly coasting through the last few lectures". I feel this guy's fatigue! The article also contains some interesting observations that this instructor made when observing a colleague who mixed short "chunks" of lectures with a "carefully chosen problem" in order to maintain student interest.

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While I was a student myself in Trinity College (class of 1983), the academic year was divided into three terms - two of 8 weeks each and one of six weeks. I think this makes more sense than the two 14-week semesters that we currently have at my College, and in other colleges. Yes - we do have a reading week in the middle when there are no classes, but only for some students. 

I do feel that the light at the end of the semester tunnel is getting closer, but we have three weeks still to go in which I will be covering material in class that will be assessed in the end of semester exams. There's no let up despite the lengthy semester, so it's full steam ahead until December 15th!

1 comment:

  1. I had 17 lectures last week and 9 per week week for the remainder of the semester; 80 in total plus labs over the 12 weeks, including 5 different modules from second to fourth year. That, plus the proximity of exams and the increased emphasis on continuous assessment means that college ain't what it used to be - for me or the students. I'm not sure I would enjoy university these days under the semesterised system.