We are just past the midterm, and I want you to take a minute to critically reflect on the following two questions:
1. What do you think is going well and is facilitating your learning in this class?
2. What could be done to improve your learning or maximize your success in this course?
What is going well?-- Being paired with an upbeat person like Shelly Morgan is a great boon. Class discussions where people WANT to talk about their real experiences, especially where the cameras get closer to their faces add a lot. (For example, the fellow from Des Moines who was talking about problems with his daughter -- he added important dimensions I never would have come up with.) The varied approaches of the two text books, especially the case studies. The lists of characteristics -- what things actually look like in practice that the class makes together sometimes. However, if those lists we do are available someplace, I'm not finding them. (Like, when we made those lists of the theories...)
What could help me learn more? More "free" discussions of the topics that grow naturally out of the material. Disembodied voices in an empty room or talking on the fiber phone do not carry the same clues as that visual material does. Have people sit where the cameras can catch them. The distance learning aspect of the class is very off-putting, but could be better if we made sure the cameras went to the people talking, who were facing it and making better contact. It is easier to focus on what you can see.
Having a question time where specifics got discussed/problem solved.
The theories were/are MURKY. They conflict, confuse, and do not provide me with any insight. The classifications just don't seem "real", beneficial, or give us a handle on anything useful.
I guess I need a tape of the Mid-Atlantic dialect. I got lost in the distinctions in Chapter 2 in LL. I studied the lists of words, said them, had others say them, but could not seem to get what the distinctions were. I can "hear" the different boroughs in New York City, Boston's Back Bay, Maine's French Canadian patois. I've picked up the phone with someone telling me they were in California, but heard New Jersey. When I told them that, they laughed and admitted they'd been in CA only two weeks.
I've talked to a vet at Iowa State who claimed to be "from" Scotland.
"No way," I said. "My ear places you "down under". But I was puzzled. "Not Australia. Not New Zealand." I queried with my eyebrows.
"I'm from New South Wales, but I was studying most recently in Scotland."
I was satisfied. But for the life of me, I can't get a handle on what Terry Piper was after with her word lists of sounds in the Mid-Atlantic dialect. I can't hear that one at all. There's so much material and so little time in class that all the ? next to things in my text (always Piper, it seems) are topics we just don't have time to cover. I never even bring them up -- it's like they happen in a vacuum.
Assume we read the texts and get it, then open the discussions up for interaction with it, not just parroting it back. The stuff that works best is the generation of scenarios where we tell what it would look like/feel like.