Class observations

Copyright Keith Kenney, 2011

I know many university professors complain about students who slouch in their chairs, talk on cellphones and surf the Web in class. During the two CSJMM classes I have observed, I have not seen such poor behavior. I have noticed, however, high absenteeism and some students have arrived late for class. How do professors deal with this problem? Please let me know what has worked for you.

Tiko Tsomaia teaches Diversity Reporting. She asked students to complete the sentence: “Sometimes gypsies . . .” Students shared the common stereotypes, but then Tiko asked if anyone had interviewed a gypsy. No one had, but several students had had unpleasant interactions with gypsies. Obviously, if you have a negative experience, you’re more likely to believe the stereotypes (or it is more difficult to prevent these stereotypes from entering your reporting). Then the class had an interesting discussion on how to go about finding gypsies to interview and how to interview them. I hope that the class will learn more about this group of people and will follow-through by actually interviewing some gypsies.

Copyright Keith Kenney, 2011

Niko Nergadze teaches Advertising and Marketing. He asked four groups of students to conduct two role-playing exercises. In the first one, Niko was a Czech student, and the students were managers at a modestly priced hotel. In the second scenario, Niko was a very rich Saudi man, and students were managers at an extremely expensive hotel. In both cases, students had 1 minute to persuade the potential customer to select their hotel. At the modestly priced hotel, students could only describe the hotel’s expected features, but at the expensive hotel, students could use augmented features to persuade the customer. I thought the exercise really helped students achieve the class’s learning objectives and students enjoyed the exercise. A nice twist at the end was that instead of assigning grades to the groups, he gave each group imaginary dollars. I presume that at the end of the course, the group with the most dollars will get the highest grade.


About keithrkenney
Keith Kenney is a professor of visual communication at the University of South Carolina. He is living in Tbilisi, Georgia, for a year. This blog is about several topics. "CSJMM-Journalism" is about the students, faculty and staff members of the Caucasus School of Journalism and Media Management in Tbilisi, Georgia. "USC-Journalism" is about the students, faculty and staff members of the School of Journalism and Mass Communications (SJMC) at the University of South Carolina in Columbia, SC. CSJMM and SJMC are recipients of a "Journalism School Partnership" program grant from the US Department of State. The purpose of this $750,000 grant is to improve CSJMM and ensure its sustainability. "Tbilisi, Georgia" is about Susanna Melo and my experiences in Tbilisi. "Columbia, SC" will be about our experiences in our home town--Columbia--when we return home. "Georgia" is about Susanna and my experiences when we travel in Georgia outside of Tbilisi. "United States" is about our experiences traveling in the US. "Films and Photography" is about two documentary films I'm working on in Georgia. One story follows how Adishi handles the rapid tourism that is being developed in Svaneti. The other story follows Tamaz Jalagania, who is a craftsman of swords and guns, an opera singer, and an extraordinary storyteller. "Scholarship" is about my current books, articles, reviews, and grants.

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