May 1, 2007

Come on, everybody. Let's study outdoors.

Lovely!

Bascom Mal

Uh-oh...

Bascom Mall

It's beautiful out there, but really, can you study outdoors? Yesterday, a student said let's do the class outdoors. Oh, no, no, no. That is not going to work. I've never taken the class outdoors in 20+ years of teaching. I don't think you can take the subject seriously outdoors. The subject is habeas corpus, the death penalty... how can you talk about that outdoors?

Keep moving.

Bascom Mall

16 comments:

Steven Taylor said...

I have succumbed to the "let's take class outside" request twice. Neither time worked out well.

Trevor said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
johnstodder said...

Isn't this an Eddie Cochran song as reinterpreted by the Four Freshman?

To be an English major at Cal, you had to take the core, three-semester course on English literature. I was talked into taking it from a prof with a reputation for being different. He had us writing journals. He smoked pot with us. After he lost his briefcase with all his grades, he gave everyone an A. And spring quarter, most of our classes were held outside. Luckily, spring in Berkeley is close to paradise.

howzerdo said...

I always hated having class outside when I was a student (and it seemed to happen quite often); it was hard to take notes, there were too many distractions, and I usually got sap or some stain on my pants. But last semester, students in one of my classes asked if we could go outside on the last day of class. It was a beautiful day, they had been an outstanding class, and I said OK. We do feedback on the class on the last day, which can easily be discussed in an informal setting. Many of the graduating seniors said they had never had a class outside in four years of college! So this Spring, if the last day of class is nice, I am going to offer to hold class outside. I plan to do this every spring from now on, but only if it has been a "good" class all semester. For obvious reasons (at least here in NY) the last day of class can't be outside in the Fall semester!

S.S.Stone said...

Agreed, it may not work out well,but at least your students will remember you.

MadisonMan said...

Classes outside were hard when I was a student mostly because of the wind. If a student has to take notes, or look at handouts, in a 15-mph breeze, that's not easy. I don't recall ever having a class outside as an instructor. I write things on the blackboard, or show movies/animations. How can you do that outside? If you're just talking, sure. But just talking, by me, is an extremely boring class.

SteveR said...

One nice thing about being a geology major, lots of time outside and usually away from campus.

Ron said...

Althouse, you killjoy! Not only should you all be outside, you should bring some of your famous wine (and maybe some cheese...Port Salut, I think) and not only inform, but entertain...A Shiraz goes with the death penalty, yes?

Hoosier Daddy said...

I had a couple of Poli Sci profs who would hold a class outside when it was nice like this. I think part was for morale so he wasn't lecturing to an empty class and because he was able to light up his pipe.

I went for a walk at lunch and it took everything I had to go back to my office.

Ruth Anne Adams said...

Althouse and her rigid weather-related lawproffy rules.

Jeanne said...

I hated having class outside - I can't stand sitting on the ground unless I have a blanket or something. It only happened a few times when I was in undergrad, and has never happened in law school.

Brad V said...

It's John Bascom's birthday today - how appropo!

Erik Opsal said...

I had a poli sci discussion outside a few weeks ago. First time ever for me and I enjoyed it. But for an actual lecture it wouldn't really be possible. 15 students max.

reader_iam said...

Thinking about the "death" "penalty" "outdoors" gives me the willies.

No punctuation typos here.

reader_iam said...

I liked the occasional literature lecture/class outside, though--most particularly, trite as it seems and, no doubt, was, when it involved poetry.

Oh, and also theatre.

Frank_Nerdster said...

Taking classes outside is probably the best thing ever. As a student in Ann's class, I don't take notes whether the class is being held indoors or outdoors, so it isn't like productivity is implicated. Plus, if we were outside, we wouldn't spend so much class time thinking about how badly we want to be outside.