Matter & Interactions I, Week 15

This week was a very short week, only two days, due to the Thanksgiving holiday. Furthermore, my instituion uses “flip days” and that took away one of the two days for my physics class. By the way, a “flip day” is a day on which the class schedule runs on another calendar day. In this case, Tuesday was “flipped” to a Friday. Ostensibly, this is to allow the same number of Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays (sixteen to be exact) in a given semester and that’s a quite admirable goal in that it attempts to ensure students get everything they’re paying for. But administration says this is required by state law, and it isn’t as evidenced by their failure to cite the relevant specific law or policy (which I already know doesn’t exist) and as evidenced by my colleagues at other institutions in the system literally laughing at me when I describe this to them; I guess my colleagues’ institutions are all violating state law. I’ve been reprimanded for pointing out these facts so sadly, I suspect nothing will change. That’s unfortunate because these “flip days” interfere with students’ work schedules, especially evening students,  as they plan their semester schedules. Despite being published months in advance, no one reads an academic calendar that far in advance and really shouldn’t have to for things like this. Furthermore, these “flip days” interrupt continuity, which to me, is far more important than having X number of class meetings per semester. I honestly think we should experiment with doing away with fall/spring breaks and other non-legislated interruptions to the academic calendar. I think continuity is more important than specific numbers of meeting times. The bottom line is that my physics class only met once this week.

So what did we do? We continued working on solution portfolios! I’m seeing so much engagement and hearing so much wonderful collaboration and learning from mistakes that I’m seriously thinking about running the entire class like this near year. More on that in a future post. However, as a result of this burst in engagement I now have over fifty PDF files to look at, but I’ll take it!

We will pick up tomorrow with the chapters on energy, which I generally think of as one large megachapter.

Comments and feedback welcome.

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