Saturday, October 31, 2009

What? No Apple??

Aren't students supposed to bring apples for the teacher? I didn't get so much as a strawberry. But I sure got a hefty dose of ego-boosting.

Last night I taught another round of my blogging class. I did this last year and didn't think it went well, though people asked for a follow-up class. I had I think four students who came. All of them seemed to be needing a web site, not really a blog. The only one who was possibly really wanting a blog was going to use it to write a cookbook, but over the year when I checked back on her site, she never did anything with it.

This year I made sure that the course description included a brief explanation of what a blog was, and, more importantly, what it wasn't.

When I checked on the status of sign-ups last weekend, they had nobody signed up and my hopes rose that maybe nobody wanted to come. Maybe blogging was so common now that nobody needed to be "taught" anything about it.

But then I had word that three people had signed up. By the time of the class there were seven people who came to learn about blogging and none of them really needed a web site--they were interested to learn about blogging.

Of course I had performance anxiety. I don't really think of myself as a teacher, but if there is anything I can teach at least fairly, it's blogging. I at least have lots of experience.

Tsui, from DCN, and I went to the lab to meet with one of the tech guys to learn how to set up all the new equipment. Good thing we did, since there were a couple of little glitches that needed to be fixed and he was able to do that for us.

Then we returned at 6 to get all the computers up and running. I put some links into the machine so I wouldn't have to type them over and over again, and we waited for students to arrive.

Seven is a full class (that's all the computers there are), and we had exactly seven students show up. Now performance anxiety sets in.

I had them go around the class and introduce themselves and explain what they hoped to get out of the class. I expected to have the same result I did last time, with people not really being there to learn about blogging, but surprisingly they were, to one degree or another. One guy runs a Mac Users group at the senior center and also wants to start a blog for his Sons of Norway group. Another woman is setting up a blog for deaf users. A woman from Congo has a lot to say on her blog. A gentlemen, who is probably in his 90s, just wanted to find out what it's all about. Another woman was interested in blogging but concerned about privacy issues.

There were all sorts of levels of experitse, from people who knew the lingo to the older man who had difficulty moving his mouse and whose hearing impairment made it difficult for him to understand everything.

I had everyone set up a blog on Blogger, because that's the site I'm most accustomed to, but I also gave them a handout with several other blogging sites and examples of blogs from each of those sites, if they wanted to check them out.

It seemed that everyone had either problems I couldn't solve, or questions I couldn't answer because they dealt with situations I had never considered before.

Tsui was a godsend, because I've learned that you can't do this class in an hour and a half with only one person. Everybody needs individual attention and Tsui was able to handle one side of the room while I took the other.

When we left, everybody had a blog set up, whether they ever use it again or not. They had all asked for a follow-up class, which I agreed to teach. I had promised the older gentleman that I would make a step by step instruction sheet for him, and even offered to come to his house where we could work one on one and he could do it at his own speed. I had also offered to help the woman from Congo by proofreading her writings in English, which she has been looking for some help with.

The ego boost came when the woman from Congo was shocked to learn I was 66...and later referred to me as "Professor."

So I guess it wasn't as bad as I always think it's going to be.

But nobody brought me an apple. (Though, come to think of it, this was a PC class...what did I expect? LOL.)

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